The pig, along with goats, was among the first wild animals to be domesticated as farm animals over 6000 years ago. Domesticated pigs come in all shapes and sizes. Pigs usually weigh between 300 and 700 lbs. The pigs most Americans are familiar with, Wilbur (Charlotte’s Web) and Arnold Ziffel (Green Acres) were youngsters and weighed maybe 60-100 pounds. Looking at some photos my guess they were of the Yorkshire breed-white with erect ears.
In fact, the Wilbur or Arnold could grow to be as heavy as 600-1000 pounds. They can be 7 to 8 feet in length and almost 5 feet high at the shoulder! The smallest pig is fittingly known as the pygmy hog. Weighing in at 15-20 pounds they are quite small at 2 feet in length and barely 12 inches high. The world record for the heaviest pig so far is held by Big Bill, owned by Elias Buford Butler of Jackson, Tennessee. It was a Poland China breed of hog that tipped the scales at 2,552 pounds in 1933!
There are hundreds of breeds of pigs in the world. Here is a short list of the most popular breeds of swine in North America.
1.Yorkshire – Yorkshires are white with erect ears.
2.Duroc – red pigs with the drooping ears
3.Berkshire – black with white socks
4.Hampshire – black and white, the hogs with the “belt”
By Ron Kuck, Dairy/Livestock Educator, Cornell Cooperative Extension of
Jefferson County is well known for its dairy industry. From fluid milk to sour cream, the North Country produces it all. Just a quick glance at CCE’s Local Food Guide will tell you that Jefferson County is also, however, a cornucopia of non-dairy agricultural products. Our county produces goat, beef, pork, poultry (including duck and turkey), rabbit, sheep, honey, maple, eggs, fruits, vegetables, herbs, and grains and hops for alcohol. Counting fish, that totals to a minimum of seventeen agricultural products. This is not to mention items that come from agricultural products grown in the county, but are not ingested by its human residents – think soap, candles, yarn, livestock feed, and cut flowers, to name just a few. Jefferson County really does produce it all! Outside of agricultural products, Jefferson County also boasts a number of equine operations, as well as pet breeding services. Dogs, rabbits, and cavies are a few examples of the pets most commonly raised here.
Obviously, the agriculture industry plays a huge role in the county’s history, culture, and economy. You can learn more by visiting the Jefferson County Fair, the oldest running fair in the U.S. celebrating their 201st anniversary this July.
By Elena LoRusso, AmeriCorps VISTA, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County
Last updated April 23, 2018