He manages: Hogan enjoys chance to run pig farm

Caleb Hogan, 17, manages a 2,500-head pig barn west of Monticello. In the background is half of the barn. (Photos by Pete Temple)

A computer controls the temperature and other settings in the pig barn Caleb Hogan manages.

Caleb Hogan holds one of the pigs from one of the barns owned by his father, Dominic.

Caleb Hogan poses near the barn he manages.

Also a member of the Monticello FFA Chapter, as vice president, Caleb Hogan (front, right) was part of a Northeast District FFA Livestock Evaluation championship team last year. Team members, first row from left: Marissa Recker and Caleb Hogan. Second row: Austin Timm and Gavin Timm. (Express file photo)
Pete Temple
Express Sports/Ag Editor

     The biggest reason Caleb Hogan enjoys caring for animals, particularly pigs, is because it’s what he knows.

     “I’ve been helping my dad (Dominic) for several years,” Hogan said. “It’s been part of me for my whole life.”

     He has taken that passion to a new level. Since November 2016, Hogan, age 17, has managed a 2,500-head pig farm west of Monticello.

     The farm is owned by Jim Baker of Agri-Management of Marion, and the pigs from from Donald Kregel & Sons of Garnavillo, but Hogan runs the day-to-day operation.

     “I do have two supervisors that come in occasionally and look at the pigs, seeing how I do,” he said.

     Because the farm is near other barns owned by the Hogans, Caleb noticed it being built in the summer of 2016.

     “I asked my dad if he could help me find the people who owned it, and perhaps get my name (out there) and see if they would hire me,” Hogan said.

     The barn was finished in October, and Hogan got in touch with Baker.

     “They contacted me, wanting me to come in,” Hogan said. “They explained how their system worked, how the pigs come in, and how they like things (to be) in the barn.

     “I didn’t have an interview or anything. I just came in and they told me how to run it. It didn’t take a whole lot on their part to explain things.”

     Hogan started work there in November.

     “I spend around two hours in the barn (a day), going through the pigs, giving pigs shots if needed. Cleanup-wise I just have to worry about the office. We hire a power washing crew and they come in and power wash the whole barn.”

     The pigs usually stay in the barn for five to six months. During that time, Hogan said he makes biosecurity a priority, having dividing lines for where people can walk without changing out of their shoes or boots.

     Hogan is a junior at Monticello High School, but already has plans to attend Iowa State University to study animal science. He said he would like to follow in his father’s footsteps.

     “After college, I’ll probably come back to the farm, and either take over for my dad or partner with my dad,” he said.

     Hogan is also vice president of the Monticello FFA Chapter, and works with a variety of projects and activities through that.

     One of those is called Feed the Farmers, which is scheduled for Oct. 14. On that day, chapter members will go out in the field with lunches for farmers who are harvesting crops.

     “It’s a way to show our appreciation to the farmers,” he said.

     He also shows cattle at the Great Jones County Fair; this past summer he showed the reserve champion AOB (Any Other Breed) at the Beef Show.

     Though the Hogan family raises cattle as well as hogs, Caleb said he prefers the latter.

     “I like the pigs more, I guess,” he said. “They’re easier to work with. They’re a lot smaller. I’ve been around pigs more than I’ve been around cattle.

     “I just kind of picked up on it and started doing that with my dad. I like doing it.”



Subscriber Login