November 22, 2011
During our travels to the farms of the 2011-2012 Master Farmers, we observed the best in farm management and modern crop and livestock production. These Master Farmers manage their family farms with the sharp eyes of a CEO and heart of a conservationist.
Missouri Master Farmer Phil Howerton, Chilhowee.
Our Web Exclusive video, part I, serves as your personal tour of J.D. Howerton and Sons Farm where Phil is a managing partner. The farm partnership includes his mother, Margaret Howerton; brother, Jim Howerton; and Phil's son, Nick. This family farm near Chilhowee in west-central Missouri was established 150 years ago by his great-great grandparents . Phil is in charge of day-to-day management of their swine operation and its six employees and is respected for his innovative practices and pork industry leadership.
Technological and management advances have helped the Howerton pork operation stay efficient and environmentally friendly. A modern farrowing house has allowed Phil to increase his farrowing rate by 11.5%. An underground nutrient irrigation pipeline, which transports liquid waste from the swine units to fields for crop fertilization, has reduced his labor and fertilizer bill. It results in less odor and waste emissions, which is beneficial for the environment and neighbor relations.
"Phil excels in all aspects of production agriculture," says Dr. James Allison, DVM, a retired swine management consultant and valued mentor to Phil. "He is able to maintain the level of productivity needed to operate his pork enterprise through the up and down market phases."
The Missouri Master Farmer Award program recognizes individuals with innovative ideas, business skills, sound conservation practices, agricultural leadership and community service. The program was revived by Missouri Ruralist and University of Missouri Extension in 2008, after being dormant for 50 years. See the Master Farmer link on this website for more information on nominating a deserving Missouri farmer for the next class of Missouri Master Farmers.
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