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The Block - It's more than a show pig

On this month’s edition of #HowTheyWork, we caught up with Ben Bobell, owner and operator of Bobell Farms from Lincoln, Illinois. Ben gives an inside look at his operation and even shares some fun facts. Read his interview below.  

Showpig: Describe your operation in terms of scope, size, breeds, etc.

Bobell: Bobell Farms is a family-owned and operated showpig operation, run by Ben and Haylee Bobell. Our three girls, Ella (17), Claire (14), and Alex (9), also actively contribute to the farm's operations. The involvement of the entire family contributes to the management and success of Bobell Farms.

The operation is supported by a full-time employee, Trey Morris, whose role is crucial in day-to-day activities. In terms of livestock, Bobell Farms has around 100 sows, with a composition of 90% crosses, along with Yorks and Spots. We also operate a grain farm where we grow corn and soybeans.

Showpig: What, in your opinion, makes your operation unique?

Bobell: We are first-generation show pig breeders, and I believe this has helped me to build a path and follow it from a genetic and phenotypic standpoint. I also truly believe that the competitive nature of our girls has been a driver to simply make better livestock!

Showpig: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Bobell: Stay Humble and Hustle.

Showpig: Describe your ideal customer.

Bobell: A customer who shares the same passion for the show pig industry and, most importantly, is willing to listen while working harder than the next.

Showpig: Share a story of one pig that stands out amongst the rest of the ones you have raised.

Bobell: I located 30-4 in the nursery and couldn’t wait to get him out into the chip barn. Once he landed in there, he was unlike any pig we had made. As he matured, we knew we had something very special. 30-4 was purchased by Premium Blend Genetics (PBG) and was named Never Before. Even though we lost him this past summer, his legacy will forever be ingrained in the show pig industry through his winners, but most importantly, his daughters. Thanks to PBG and the entire show pig world for the faith in this once-in-a-lifetime sire!!

Showpig: What is one thing you can’t live without as a breeder?

Bobell: Our whole crew utilizes and relies on Gesdate, but I think Haylee would say our farrowing house cameras!

Showpig: What is one chore that you hate to do but must be done?

Bobell: I think it would have to be picturing baby pigs. It has routinely tested the strength of our marriage!

Showpig: If you could raise pigs anywhere in the world BESIDES the state you are in, where would it be and why?

Bobell: TEXAS - We have great friends in Texas and the shows are second to none.

Showpig: What’s playing on your radio while working in the barn all day?

Bobell: 2 things… country or rap.

Showpig: What is one thing you can’t live without unrelated to pigs?

Bobell: Our girls!! They are the center of our life!

Showpig: A fun fact that many people may not know about you.

Bobell: Growing up, I actually showed cattle, not pigs, and we didn’t have any sows. We are first-generation pig farmers!

This or that: Showpig: Picturing or Videoing?

Bobell: Videoing

Showpig: Crossbreds or Purebreds?

Bobell: Crossbreds

Showpig: Stay in a hotel or stay in a camper?

Bobell: Camper

Showpig: Stay home or go to a show?

Bobell: Go to a show

Showpig: Frozen semen or fresh?

Bobell: Fresh

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