HOg Farmer Protocol 2024

All hogs raised for Hickory Nut Gap Meats (HNGM) must meet these standards.

  • Have never been administered antibiotics, ever.
  • Have never been given added hormones or artificial growth promotants, ever.
  • Have been fed an all-vegetarian diet.
  • Have not been confined.
  • Have been raised and finished in the United States.
  • Have been raised in compliance with HNGM’s animal husbandry standards.
  • Have met HNGM’s pork quality acceptance standards.
  • Have met HNGM’s regenerative farming practice standards.
  • Have been raised without the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO).
  • Have been raised in accordance to Global Animal Partnership: Step 4 Pasture Centered.
  • Are of Heritage breed genetics.

In addition to or as an expansion of the above standards, all producers must adhere to the following list of Hickory Nut Gap Meats Requirements:

1 | Antibiotics

  • 1.1 All finished weight and weaned weight hogs sold to HNGM can never have been administered antibiotics, including Ionophores in feed, water, or intra-muscular injection.
  • 1.2 Animal welfare is top priority for HNGM. Animals that are sick or injured must be tended to. If necessary, antibiotics must be administered to animals to treat disease even if it disqualifies them from the program.
  • 1.3 In the event of a sick hog that must receive antibiotics, the hog must be marked and/or separated off from the rest of the herd. This pig cannot be sold to HNGM.
  • 1.4 In the event that an animal cannot recover without prolonged or acute suffering, the animal should be euthanized by the following methods:
    • 1.4.1 Gunshot
    • 1.4.2 Penetrating captive bolt
    • 1.4.3 Anesthetic overdose
    • 1.4.4 A record of antibiotic treatment must be kept and accessible.

2 | Hormones and Other Treatments

  • 2.1 All finished weight and weaned weight hogs sold to HNGM can never have been administered any type of growth promoting hormones, beta-agonists, ionophores, or carbadox.

3 | Diet and Water

  • 3.1 All hogs must be fed a 100% vegetarian diet that is free from GMOs.
  • 3.2 Dairy is allowed but should never allow diet to exceed 6.5% Crude Fat.
  • 3.3  Feed must be stored free from contaminants such as rodent droppings and mold.
  • 3.4  All hogs must have access to clean feed with minimal competition.
  • 3.5 All hogs must have access to clean drinking water with minimal competition.
  • 3.6 Feed tags must be available during annual inspection.
  • 3.7 Piglets must be weaned no earlier than 6 weeks of age and have dry feed available at least one week prior to weaning.

4 | Environment

  • 4.1 Hogs must be raised outside on pasture in an enriched environment that allows them to exhibit natural behaviors.
  • 4.2 Hogs must have access to food, and water at all times.
  • 4.3 Hogs must have access to a dry area to lie down at all times.
  • 4.4 During months that require protection from the elements, hogs may be kept in an open air barn using deep bedding methods. Minimum bedding pack is 12 inches. All hogs must be able to lie down on their sides comfortable with legs fully extended without touching each other.
  • 4.5 Bedding must be clean and dry and allow hogs to play, root, and explore.
  • 4.6 Use of Effective Microorganisms (EM) in bedding is encouraged.
  • 4.7 Air quality must allow hogs to breathe comfortably. Ammonia levels must be kept below 25ppm and are subject to testing. 10 ppm or less are desired levels.
  • 4.8 Temporary close confinement where the animals cannot turn around may be used for the following needs: vaccination, veterinary care, or loading and sorting of animals.

5 | Domestically Raised 

  • 5.1 All hogs must be raised and finished in the United States.

6 | Animal Husbandry Standards

  • 6.1 All farmers raising hogs under the HNGM name must follow low stress handling methods. These methods will be reviewed at the initial site visit prior to any purchases of hogs under the HNGM name.
  • 6.2  In the event of a sick or injured the hog, the hog must be treated immediately.
  • 6.3  Sick or injured hogs must be given an area free of competition to recover.
  • 6.4  In the event the hog cannot recover from illness or injury, the animal must be promptly and humanely euthanized on the farm. See standards set is section 1.4.
  • 6.5 Needle teeth clipping, and grinding is not allowed.
  • 6.6 Tail docking is not allowed.
  • 6.7 Ear notching must be performed with an ear-notcher. Knife blades are not allowed for ear notching.
  • 6.8 All hogs must be raised in accordance to Global Animal Partnership Step 3 or Step 4 standards.
  • 6.9 Farm leadership and staff are trained based on the protocols outlined in the Global Animal Partnership training requirements.   

7 | Quality Acceptance

  • 7.1 Intramuscular fat in the loin area is a requirement for all hogs raised under the HNG pork production protocol.
  • 7.2 Bloodlines must be kept on record and accessible and of heritage breed genetics.
  • 7.3 Target carcass weight (HCW) range is 180-235 lb. Hogs cannot exceed 330 lb Liveweight (LW). Based on our historic Dressing Percentage Data, 260-330 lb LW is good target.
  • 7.4 Hickory Nut Gap Meats may purchase whole hogs and various cuts from approved vendors that meet all protocol requirements and 3rd party audits to fill gaps in the supply chain. 

8 | Regenerative Farming Practices            

  • 8.1 Livestock must be raised in an environmentally safe manner that adheres to all county, state, and federal standards.
  • 8.2 Farmers must use pasture management techniques that enhance the quality of the environment, animal health, and public health.
  • 8.3 Farmers must avoid management practices that degrade soil health, water quality, and other parts of the ecosystem.
  • 8.4 Farms must participate in Hickory Nut Gap’s EOV program to monitor farm ecological health.
  • 8.5 Farms must  be managed with techniques that are known to draw down carbon from the atmosphere such as reduced tillage or no-till, cover cropping, planned grazing, integrating crops with livestock, and minimizing synthetic inputs

9 | 3rd Party Audits

  • 9.1 Farmers must raise all hogs without the use of GMOS
  • 9.2 All Farmers raising animals under GAP Step 4 standards must undergo required audit for certification.

10 | Animal Record Keeping

  • 10.1 An HNGM Hog Batch Report & Affidavit must be dropped off with the respective animal at the processor the day of animal delivery.         

11 | Farmer Relations

  • 11.1 Farmers participating in this program will be in communication with Hickory Nut Gap Meats regularly.
  • 11.2 All farmers will have 60 days’ notice of any HNG meetings.
  • 11.3 All farmers are invited to attend the Annual meeting held every spring/summer for farmer education, information and building relationships.
  • 1.1 A representative from HNG holds the right to visit your farm based on an agreed upon timeline and date.

12 | Delivery of Finished Animals

  • 12.1 Farmers are required to confirm their delivery 14 days prior to the delivery date.
  • 12.2 Farmers may be required to sign supply contracts with HNGM.
  • 12.3 Farmers are responsible for hauling pigs to an agreed upon location. 

13 | Payment

  • 13.1 Payment rates are determined prior to the animal leaving your farm.
  • 13.2 Payment is based upon the animal’s hanging weight and target weight range. If hanging weight is unavailable from the processor, live weight will be used to determine payment.
  • 13.3 I understand that I am entering into a written agreement for the sale of livestock on credit to Hickory Nut Gap Meats, LLC, and I understand that in doing so I will have no rights under the trust provision of section 206 of the Packers and Stockyard Act, 1921, as amended (7U.S.C ‘196, Pub L 94-410) with respect to any such credit sale.  This written agreement for such selling on credit provides that it will remain in effect until canceled in writing by either party. 
  • 13.4   Payment is scheduled to be issued 14 days from the date of harvest or earlier. If payment is issued past due, it will bear interest at the annual rate of five percent (5%) compounded daily. Interest will be payable for the number of days between the payment due date and the date the payment is issued. 

14 | Heritage Breed Genetics

  • 14.1 We use a farmers heritage breed in a pasture raised system to pull characteristics from the primary genetics of Berkshire, Duroc, Chester White, and other heritage breed sows. These genetics can be traced back to North Carolina for generations.
  • 14.2 All sows and boars must consist of majority heritage breed genetics (as listed in 11.1)

15 | Non Compliance

  • 15.1 All animals entering into the supply for Hickory Nut Gap Meats should meet all of the standards outlined above.  If it is determined that animals entering the supply do not meet the standards agreed upon by the protocol and affidavit, Hickory Nut Gap Meats reserves the right to determine the best way to manage the inventory of products coming from those animals. Payment for the non-compliant animals will be determined by Hickory Nut Gap. 
  • 15.2 If farmers do not follow through on size requirements, a non-conformance will be issued to the farmer with a corrective action request.  
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