Joel Salatin, author of the books You Can Farm and Family Friendly Farming, finishes more than 200 hogs a year on his diversified Polyface Farm at Swoope, Va. The pigs are used to till some fields before planting and to clear land for pasture. 'We're always trying to utilize the assets of the animal so that it expresses its animalness, and a pig fully expresses when it's plowing,' Salatin says.
Pigs can be useful on the farm even in small numbers. David and Lise Abazs used three pigs to convert an overgrown field into an orchard on their organic Round River Farm, at Finland, Minn. 'We wanted to do it so we didn't have to bulldoze,' David Abazs says. The Abazses bought three, constructed a mobile pen for the animals, and then kept moving the pen with the pigs in it across the overgrown field they wanted to clear. By the end of the summer, the pigs had cleared the field. The pigs even cleared away large tree roots; the couple would just sprinkle a little corn beside the roots and let the animals dig.
Megan E. Phelps is a freelance writer based in Kansas. She enjoys reading and writing about all things related to sustainable living including homesteading skills, green building and renewable energy. You can find her on Google+.