Last month, Jimmy Tosh of Tosh Farms was presented with Farm Journal’s annual Top Producer of the Year award. Tosh, the leader of a diverse and innovative family-owned farming operation is also a master pork producer.
Sponsored by BASF, Rabo AgriFinance and Case IH, the Top Producer of the Year contest is in its 20th year and represents the best in the business of farming. Three finalists are chosen from numerous applications by a panel of judges based on entrepreneurial originality; financial and business progress; and industry and community leadership.
Here’s a closer look into their farm operation.
- Tosh Farms: 17,000 acres of white and yellow corn, soybeans, canola and wheat.
- Tosh Pork cares for 37,000 sows on 11 sites that produce 850,000 market hogs annually; pigs are transferred at three weeks old to one of 83 wean-to-finish sites
- Largest pork producer in Tennessee and 28th largest pork producer in the U.S.
- Feed mill produces 5,500 tons of feed for pigs each week. Corn is purchased from local farmers to meet pigs dietary needs.
- Bacon By Gosh is the transportation division for the operation. They use 52 semis, 85 trailers and 64 automobilies to transport grain, feed, pigs and employees. A truck wash is part of their biosecurity plan, which cleans, disinfects and drys trailers in between loads of pigs to prevent the spread of disease.
- Today, the team includes nearly 400 full-time employees. Jimmy and his wife, Alonna, have two sons, Jamey and Jonathan, who are involved in the business and will succeed Jimmy.
Tosh Farms partners with the Pig Improvement Company (PIC) and maintains a herd of PIC boars to use in their AI program. Read their in-depth commitment to animal care.
They also use an in-depth biosecurity plan. Besides a shower in/out policy on sow farms, they also clean and disinfect wean-to-finish barns in between groups of pigs. Semis and trailers undergo a thorough cleaning process. After being cleaned and disinfected, trailers are heated to 160°F to kill any microorganisms that might still be present.
Tosh employees a staff veterinarian, Seth Kranztz, DVM, to ensure the health and wellbeing of animals on the farm. All members of the animal care team, including farm workers, transporters and contract farmers, participate in the Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) and Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) through the National Pork Board.
“My main responsibility is to protect the health and well-being of all the pigs that we raise,” Kranztz says.
Creative Marketing Partners
As the operation grew, Tosh Farms created a contract system for area farmers to produce hogs. This has helped more than 80 independent family farmers in Tennessee and Kentucky continue farming, all while building equity in their own operations. Click here to see Tosh’s typical contract with a contract finisher.
Managing Hog Cycles
Growth of Tosh Farms’ scale doesn’t happen by accident. Jimmy was one of the first users of the personal computer to manage his farm finances. In fact, the first spreadsheet he created he still uses today.
Surviving the financial farm crisis of the 1980s, as well as the late 1990s and late 2000s, which were extremely difficult financial years for hog producers, takes a keen focus on business. While other hog producers were leaving the industry, Tosh Farms became a leader.
In northwest Tennessee, the operation doesn’t experience the wide corn basis and cheap feed compared to hog operations in the Midwest. So, Jimmy has supplemented his feed rations with non-traditional ingredients and even manufactured a system to process these ingredients into feed pellets. Jimmy believes the early adopters of technology reap the most benefits. As a result, he’s always looking for new and innovative production, marketing and management opportunities that cut costs.
Watch for additional coverage later this year.