DES MOINES, Iowa – Niman Ranch, a subsidiary of Perdue Farms, announced on Sept. 8 that it plans to double its farm network by 2028. The company is looking to support 1,500 sustainable family farms during that time. Niman currently supports more than 750 family farms. 

Niman started a recruiting effort called the Gilt and Boar Gift program. The program’s goal is to bring in young farmers, recent college graduates and people who served in the military. Niman said more than $300,000 in sows have already been made available for any farmer interested.

“It took us 20 years to get here and now we’ll double it in ten. We have the opportunity to break away from being captive to the commodity markets,” said Jeff Tripician, general manager of Niman Ranch. “We’ve always said, ‘One farmer at a time’ and that is and was a victory for every rural community. Now we’ll do more. The market is ready and there are farmers out there that are ready for the stability that a premium meat company like Niman Ranch can provide.”

Niman also said it is paying independent family farms around double the market value and promises to do more over the decade-long project.

“In a time of depressed hog prices, tariffs, trade wars, and a slow outlook for hog futures, we are going to grow,” Tripician said. “Our market is stronger than ever, our customers are more committed than they have ever been, and we must keep up with consumer demand.”

In addition, Niman sponsors its Next Generation Scholarship Fund which raised more than $150,000 this year and was distributed to more than 32 students for college.

“With student loan debt affecting two thirds of college graduates today, paying for college is a substantial barrier for young farmers and ranchers who face rising land costs,” said Jim Wallace, senior director of the live team operations. “The number of beginning farmers in America fell by 20 percent between 2007 and 2012 alone. Niman Ranch recognizes that combating the burden of student loan debt is crucial to helping new farmers stay on the land.”

Niman Ranch meat is third-party-certified under the Certified Humane program. All products are sustainably raised without the use of antibiotics or hormones.