KU Quandt Brothers is one of the latest North Dakota family farming operations to diversify by adding livestock. The new feeder pig operation provides the farm operation with a steady income and increases demand for local crops that will be used as feed.
Planning for years, the family says they’re excited to see the project come to fruition. “We’ve actually been working on this for about five years, and financing became available through some different programming this past year, so we jumped on the opportunity. We had the leg work done already, and knew pretty much what we wanted,” Justin Quandt, one of the farm owners, says.
Help along the way
Assisting the family was Amber Boeshans, executive director of the North Dakota Livestock Alliance, which helps farmers who want to include livestock in their operations.
“We worked with Amber a lot for this,” Quandt says of working with NDLA. “Instead of trying to jump off a cliff trying to figure out all of the permitting and opportunities, she helped us take the stairway down.”
“It’s really fun to see grain farmers diversify their crop and beef, by looking into pigs to bring this new opportunity and new jobs to bring in the next generation,” Boeshans says.
The new operation consists of two barns in Sargent County, N.D., large enough to hold 4,800 head of finishing pigs at different growth stages. The pigs will come into the barns between 35 and 50 pounds, and leave at market weight between 280 and 300 pounds. Inside the main barns is an office area and housing, divided to hold pigs of various growth stages. In addition to the barns, eight feed bins, a propane tank and a standby generator are permanent structures built for the operation.
“The North Dakota Livestock Alliance was a part of this discussion from the beginning,” Boeshans says. “We met with them when it was still a concept, and the family just wanted to know more about the permitting process. And we’re thrilled to see it come together and now be standing in the barns.”
Aside from a steady income for the family operation, a swine operation of this magnitude has a major, positive impact on the local community. The feeder pigs will be supplied by the Truenbach family of Agriscience Alliance Inc., based in Helca, S.D. The pigs eat about 220,000 bushels of corn per year, which is roughly 1.2% of what the two nearby elevators in Oakes, N.D., handle yearly. The pigs will also eat 1,600 tons of soymeal and 1,600 tons of distillers grain, a byproduct of ethanol production.
The barns were designed by environmental engineers at Dehaan Grabs and Associates of Bismarck, N.D., and will employ at least one more full-time employee. The building process also employed local contractors during construction, and will continue to use them for maintenance, electrical and trucking needs.
Check out the photo gallery to learn more about the technologies used in this operation and the family that operates it.