John and Marina Backes raise Certified AWA pigs outdoors on pasture at Circle B Ranch in Seymour, Missouri. Nestled in the gently rolling hills and woodlands of the southwest Missouri Ozarks, te 90-acre farm is located in Seymour, just 32 miles east of Springfield. “At Circle B Ranch, we raise hogs the old-fashioned way: outside on the pasture, where the hogs can run and exercise,” John and Marina explain.
John and Marina relocated from Branchburg, NJ, in September 2009, where they owned a small hobby farm, raising turkeys, ducks and chickens for their own consumption. Both believe their non-farming background played a key role in the success of their outdoor hog farming operation. With extensive experience in mechanical contracting, John was able to design their farm’s infrastructure and continues to manage everyday operations on the farm. Marina owned and operated an upscale catering company in Somerville, NJ, for 11 years and developed a taste and passion for creating high quality, flavorful ingredients.
The Backes undertook extensive research on the type of farming that would work best on their 90 acres and eventually decided the property would provide the ideal environment for outdoor hog production. Committed to high-welfare farming, there was never any discussion about how they would raise their Berkshire and Red Wattle hogs: “We do not practice any confinement raising,” says John. “The more humanely treated the animal, the better the meat will be. The difference that natural, humane treatment can make to the taste of the pork is out of this world.”
John explains that they breed, farrow and raise all their hogs outdoors in English-style outdoor farrowing huts that are popular among European farmers. “We raise our hogs in a natural environment where they graze on pasture and wooded areas rich in natural nuts, grasses and berries, as well as mineral-rich earth and roots. We provide fresh spring or well water, which greatly reduces parasite pressure.”
The Backes are passionate about providing their customers with the best pork products possible. “We dedicate a tremendous amount of time and effort to offer our customers the ultimate naturally raised, healthy pork product,” says Marina. “The time spent on each hog translates into better tasting pork.”
Both John and Marina and their family are proud to be Certified AWA. In fact, John built the layout of the farm to comply with AWA standards for pigs. They firmly believe that pasture-based management and high welfare practices are the key factors in producing the superior taste and the appearance of their meat,
Certified AWA pork from Circle B Ranch is available through their online farm shop, as well as stores and restaurants in Springfield, St. Louis, and Kansas City, Branson and Bernie. For more information—and details of where to buy—visit www.circlebranchpork.com. To stay up to date with farm activities, following Circle B Ranch on Facebook at www.facebook.com/circlebranchpork.