Robert and his wife Becky Byler of Triple B Heritage Farm always envisioned raising their family on a farm.
Even though Robert grew up on a farm, he went into construction instead of following in the family business. He took the chance to bring his family’s farm vision to life when his brother-in-law asked for a hand selling a few pigs his kids had raised. Robert agreed to market the pigs, and even as his brother-in-law left the hog trade, Robert and his family’s commitment to raising pigs continued to grow.
When we asked Robert why it was important he raise his family on a farm, he shared: “Largely, farming brings us down to earth. It’s a wonderful way to raise a family, it teaches us many things. We farm so we can stay busy and work together everyday.”
Since selling those first few pigs, the Byler family has worked together every day to raise Berkshire, Gloucestershire “old spot,” and Duroc pasture-raised hogs in not one, but two different states. The Bylers originally hail from Mio, Michigan, where they began Triple B Heritage Farm and raised hogs for almost 5 years.
Inspired to take a leap of faith, last year the family moved to a small community in Hustonville, Kentucky where they they now raise 360 pastured pigs at any given time. Yearound on Kentucky’s rolling pasture, these pigs forage on natural grasses like clovers, bluegrass, foxtail and crabgrass. Through the winter, Robert supplements the pigs’ diet with a locally-sourced, GMO-free pellet feed mix made with corn, soybeans and wheat.
When Robert originally decided to raise Berkshire, “old spot” and Duroc pigs, he says: “My goal was to have a hog that was tops on the table as far as taste and marbling ― and also that’s gonna be hearty and good for pasture.”
“The land benefits because we run the hogs out there and they fertilize it for us,” shares Robert. It’s important to strike a balance between the land’s needs and the pigs’ needs, Robert notes, “We try not to overpressure our pasture. Rotation is the biggest factor in managing the land so that it doesn’t erode on us and so it grows back and continues the cycle.”
Pastured pigs are happy pigs. Robert’s number one focus is minimizing the day-to-day stress on his pigs. “That is definitely our goal, to have our hogs in as natural and friendly of an environment as possible. Ultimately, our goal is to keep the stress low and to keep them happy so that our end product is affected by that.”
So how does it taste? Juicy and super-flavorful — but the real seal of approval comes straight from the Byler children, aged 3-10, who can’t get enough: “It used to be that we were trying to get the kids to eat the pork and now we can hardly get a bite in,” laughs Robert.