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Where Have All the Old Hog Barns Gone?

Where Have All the Old Hog Barns Gone?
Some were knocked down, but others have new life and purpose on the farm.

When folks raising hogs transitioned to the large quad-building style for contract feeding operations, the older finishing buildings, some with pits, were left empty. Many were 30 to 40 years old, and were designed for one purpose, either housing sows or housing finishing pigs. What happens when you no longer need those barns for that purpose?

Hal and Ty Brown, Frankfort, found a use for their old hog barn with a pit underneath. Instead of knocking it down, they decided they need room for equipment storage. We're not talking hand tools – we're talking combine heads and big items.

Come on in! Ty Brown stands at the bottom of the stairs while the photographer is at ground level. He's standing in what was once a manure pit but is now the floor for a toolshed.

So they tore out the slats and emptied the pit. Cleaning it was a large job, Ty admits. Then on one end they removed the wall and made a door large enough to back in machinery to store in the building.

The strangest part of it is that when you enter the building, if you didn't know it was a hog building in a previous life, you wonder why the concrete goes 12 ft. down. You are now below ground level. They build steps so people can easily access the floor on the end opposite of the door where machinery enters.

The interesting thing is that there is absolutely no odor remaining in the building that would give away its previous life. In fact, the Browns have held customer meals for their combine head business and other gatherings when the tools were moved out. Soon they will be holding them in a large shop they just completed. But until now, they've served food there. No one has complained, Ty quips.

If you want to see the building, you can visit their farm during the farm management tour on Wednesday, June 27. In fact, their farm will host the Master Farmer banquet for 2013 that evening – the first time ever on a farm. However, the banquet will be in the new, air conditioned building, not in the revamped hog/storage barn!

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