If there’s one thing Nicolas Cage could always be relied on to deliver, it’s unpredictability. But in recent years, the actor has churned out a steady stream of — for lack of a better word — predictably cheesy (if also, for those whose tastes are so inclined, predictably pleasurable) trash, including “Mom and Dad,” “Mandy” and “Color Out of Space.” This has led some to wonder how the Oscar-winning star of “Leaving Las Vegas” and an Oscar nominee for “Adaptation” could have turned into what the website No Film School called a “B-movie god.”  Cage’s newest film, “Pig,” is a drama about a misanthropic former chef named Robin who lives in the woods of the Pacific Northwest with no friends, phone or shower, and who — after his prized truffle pig is stolen — leaves his run-down shack for the upscale foodie subculture of downtown Portland in which he was once a superstar. He has one mission: to retrieve the missing animal. The trailer for the film, in which Cage appears bearded,

Nicolas Cage is looking for his stolen KuneKune pig in ‘Pig,’ a film of enormous beauty and depth​. 
In theaters July 2021

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BF Farm in Huggins, Missouri, is owned ​and operated by Mark Bengston and Jodey Fulcher. They are top-notch breeders of Black Hereford cattle, Kiko goats and Kunekune pigs. All three species enjoy rotational grazing through pastures at BF Farm.

Radio Interview with Mark Bengtson on the use of Kunekunes as part of a multi-species grazing system

KUNEKUNE PIGS ARE A EXCELLENT OPTI​ON FOR A MULTI SPECIES ROTATIONL GRAZING PROGRAM

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Hobby Farm Article

Rotational Grazing Is Key On Missouri’s BF Farm

The farmers at BF Farm in Huggins, Missouri, use rotational grazing for cattle, goats, and pigs for a healthy pasture and hardy livestock.

The numbers are impressive: 200 acres, three species of livestock, 14,000 feet of goat fencing and 23 gates. It’s all for a sustainable grazing technique managed by two dedicated and knowledgeable farmers, working a rotational grazing formula that makes for an innovative and successful livestock venture.

BF Farm in Huggins, Missouri, is owned and operated by Mark Bengston and Jodey Fulcher. They are top-notch breeders of Black Hereford cattle, Kiko goats and Kunekune pigs. All three species enjoy rotational grazing through pastures at BF Farm.

Mark and Jodey have found an approach that maximizes food availability, reduces parasite risk and promotes health for each animal while effectively managing the natural resources of the land.

While Mark grew up in New Jersey and had never farmed before, Jodey grew up in Georgia and spent summers learning and working on his grandparents’ farm. An uncle gave Jodey his first goat—a Saanen buck that had been won in a poker game—and his grandfather got him started with chickens.

Jodey’s early farming experiences influenced the choices he made starting a small farm with Mark.



From Garden to Farm

Together since 2006, Mark and Jodey first lived on a Georgia property that they enjoyed. An avid gardener, Mark enthusiastically planted their entire yard.

Eventually, he longed for more space to garden. Jodey suggested they look for a small farm. Intrigued by the idea, they found and bought a 35-acre farm in Cave Spring, Georgia, in 2013.

When Mark and Jodey moved to the farm, they started with a small mixed-breed herd of goats. Slowly, Jodey redefined the makeup of the herd. He narrowed his focus and commitment to Kiko goats.

Jodey began to develop a name for himself and the farm with the quality of Kiko goats he produced.

Soon they were researching other livestock species. This led them to learn more about Kunekune pigs and Black Hereford cows.

Both species would eventually take up residence on their farm. Mark and Jodey realized they would need more land to focus on the kinds of livestock they wanted to manage and the rotational grazing systems they admired. With a commitment to raising registered livestock and a vision of quality over quantity, they began scouring the country for the right farming location.

After a nationwide search, Missouri proved to offer the most economical option in terms of quality grazing land and availability.

BF Farm comprises 200 acres with 50 acres fenced to create the 12 pastures for goats and pigs. The remaining 150 acres provides rotational grazing for the cattle.

Choosing this space is consistent with the mission of BF Farm. Through advanced research, meticulous record keeping and a dedication to excellence in care, breeding and maintenance, the pair raised animals that are financially productive.

Pasture Practices

When we bought this farm, Jodey had about 30 goats and we had a dozen head of cattle,” Mark says. “We are in our third year here and have grown to over 50 head of cattle, 40 goats with the anticipation of 80 offspring this year. And we have five reproducing sows.”

The move to Missouri has provided improved animal health while supporting the sustainable rotational grazing practices Mark and Jodey wanted to implement.

The farm is laid out like the face of a clock. About 50 acres are designated for the goats and pigs with fencing and gates to allow animals to be moved from pasture to pasture. During the summer months, animals are moved on a weekly basis through pastures ranging in size from 2 to 10 acres.

The pasture rotation maximizes food resources for each species without overgrazing the land, promoting animal health.

“Each animal has parasites specific to their species,” Jodey says. “One of the biggest expenses when raising goats commercially is deworming. Rather than pouring chemicals into the animals, we move them through the pastures and produce healthier individuals.”

Mark said they’ve created an environment that doesn’t contain enough animals for the parasites to complete their life cycle.

Goat parasites don’t affect the pigs, cattle parasites don’t affect the goats. Each species arrives in a pasture and vacuums up the parasites left behind by the previous grazers. The lower level of parasites also means the animals don’t need medications to keep them healthy.


Rotation Model

The animals move in a clockwise rotational grazing system from pasture to pasture. The way the farm is laid out—with the addition of gates and fencing—allows the animals to be moved from one pasture to another each week.

Not only are the animals protected from parasites this way, but rotational grazing ensures the land is never overgrazed as each species consumes something different while in a single pasture.

The cows also move through their own pastures in a low-stress migration—not a hectic cattle drive. Movement of the livestock results in built-in rest periods for each pasture.

No group is back in the same pasture for 12 weeks, and no species is back in the same pasture for six weeks.

Seeding Systems

The pastures are a mix of native grasses and forbs and have been overseeded with fescue, orchard grass, timothy, Bermuda, clover and other types of grasses over the years. There are also small wooded areas in each pasture that provide a variety of scrubby plants such as buck bush, blackberry, multiflora rose and saplings.

“The animals come in, eat, fertilize. And then after they leave, the pasture recovers, grows and is ready for them when they return,” Jodey says.

Missouri has some of the lushest grazing land in the country, and the area Mark and Jodey picked is some of the best in the state.

They have not needed to intentionally overseed but recognize that the livestock might be overseeding and reseeding in the process of moving. And, at the height of the growing season, they do use tractors to cut because there is too much for the animals too eat.

In preparation for the winter months, Mark and Jodey designate 40 of the 150 acres for stockpiling. These acres will be held back from the rotation starting in August. Allowed to grow for the remainder of the season, the acres provide winter grazing for the livestock.

One of the largest expenses in keeping livestock is purchasing or producing hay. Stockpiling is a cost-effective approach. BF Farm doesn’t have to own and maintain the equipment to cut and bale hay or purchase it to get through the colder months.

The Livestock

Mark and Jodey Kiko carefully researched and selected their goats, Kunekune pigs and Black Hereford cows. Mark’s specializes in the Kunekune pigs, while Jodey focuses on the Kiko goats.

Their areas of expertise include conducting research in the early stages of species selection, speaking with customers and fellow breeders, and daily care and needs.

Jodey manages most of the farm’s paperwork. The men share in the responsibility for the cattle. Of course, if animals need handling, it’s generally a two-person job.

“Teamwork makes the dream work,” Jodey says.

Kiko Goats

These Goats originated in New Zealand, evolving from feral crosses.

Kiko means “meat” in Maori. The goats mature quickly for meat production and do well in the wetter climate of the Midwest. Kikos are hardy, and the females are good mothers. The breed has not been as overmanaged as other goats, and Jodey chose them for their high level of parasite resistance.

Equipped for dealing with plants that are often considered undesirable in pastures, the goats consume brambles, multiflora rose, hardwood seedlings, knapweed, ironweed and more.

They tolerate plants with higher levels of tannins than the other livestock can. Because goats prefer different browse than cattle, the two species don’t compete for the same resources.

Kunekune Pigs

These pigs also hail from New Zealand. They nearly went extinct in the 1970s, but conservation efforts helped them recover. They expanded to Great Britain, Europe and the United States as well as Canada.

Kunekunes attract attention because they are ideal for smaller farms, as well as farms focused on sustainability. They enjoy an increasing popularity among chefs, charcutiers and home butchers.

Friendly, docile and easy to handle, the pigs sport a short-upturned snout adapted more for grazing than rooting. The pigs can fatten on grazing and as a result boast a low fat-to-meat ratio.

Their natural habitat is woodlands and pastures, and they are excellent animals to maintain, manage and eradicate unwanted pasture weeds. Their effectively consume weeds without damaging soil.

Kunekune have very lean meat because they dine on 90 percent pasture grazing and little grain. They never eat slop, Mark says. They grow to 220 to 300 pounds and fit in well on smaller farms.

The pigs sell as meat and for pets.

Black Hereford Cattle

These animals have a docile temperament, high-quality meat production and beautiful black hides, making the breed attractive in recent years. The cows’ low-key and calm personalities made them an excellent choice for BF Farm’s pasture practices.

Cattle—along with the other species—get DNA tests to ensure quality and credibility with each individual. Mark and Jodey trace their weights from birth, selectively maintaining weights with a focus on raising animals that provide good breeding stock.

“Cattle are an interesting science,” Mark says. “We are guaranteeing that our cattle are 100 percent homozygous. They will always throw a black polled calf.”

One of the registered animals sells for about four times the price of a commercially raised animal.

The cattle primarily sell as breeder stock because Mark and Jodey follow such a stringent program of each animal’s health. They are weighed at birth, at weaning, and as yearlings. If they don’t meet the baseline weight numbers, registration doesn’t happen.

Various Other Animals

BF Farm also houses a flock of guinea fowl that consume as many ticks as possible. The trained flock stays close to the barn and areas where the animals sleep. Ticks pose a health issue for the other livestock, so it’s necessary to have something that will consume them.

A flock of chickens produces enough eggs for people, pigs and the dogs that live and work on the farm. The eggs help Mark and Jodey keep costs low—using them as an additional source of protein.

Five Great Pyrenees dogs work on the farm. Each dog lives with a different goatherd serving as protectors. (One of the younger dogs bonded with the pigs.)

The dogs bond with their herd, and the livestock know them as their guardians. They are critical to keeping the herds safe from coyotes. The dogs also help mitigate the increasing number of black vultures in the area—barking until the birds move on.

Overall, Mark and Jodey stay focused on strategies of diversification and rotation. They are committed to their model and to promoting it as an option for other small farming operations.

Their philosophy reflects a pledge to sustainable practices that focus on health and well being for each species of animal and the land itself.

This article originally appeared in the September/October 2019 issue of Hobby Farms magazine.

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Houston Herald Article

At BF Farm in Huggins, owners Mark Bengtson and Jodey Fulcher are breeders of Black Hereford cattle, Kiko goats and Kunekune pigs. They use a grazing regimen involving all three species taking turns working over the same space.

The technique is particularly effective because of what the three species like to eat. The Kunekune (pronounced “cooney cooney”) is a small breed of pig native to New Zealand renowned for being an effective method of maintaining, managing or eradicating unwanted pasture weeds. Meanwhile, goats are well known for voluntarily munching on larger undesirable plants (like multiflora rose, knapweed, ironweed and more), while cattle, of course, prefer eating grass.

“The goats prefer a woody forage and the pigs prefer a weedy forage,” Bengtson said, “and the cattle, of course, like grass. Each one of these species has different needs and wants in the fields, so they compliment each other well.”

The result is a more uniform pasture, because more plants are involved in the grazing. And with “undesirable” plants being regularly eaten, there’s no need to spray pastures with herbicide.

“I hate the use of chemicals, and this provides an alternative to people who think that’s the only answer,” Bengtson said.

Kiko goats are also native to New Zealand. The presence of goats in a given field not only promotes undesirable plant control, Bengtson said, but helps control what grows in “difficult” areas, like steep hills or banks.

“Goats are amazing,” he said. “They’re very resilient in terms of finding food, and they can utilize protein in wood. That’s why people sometimes see their goats eating bark.”

Bengtson and Fulcher will sometimes even place a species in a field based on what’s growing at a given time of year.

“We try to keep an eye on that,” Bengtson said. “Like right now, clover is coming up like crazy, so the cattle are in an area where there’s a lot of it. It’s about an 8-acre space, so in they’ll go through that in about three days.

“But we’re not going to let that go to waste.”

The cattle-goat-pig rotation also promotes parasite control. Once the eggs of most harmful parasites get into the ground, a host must be found within a week.

“That’s the key,” Bengtson said. “If you constantly move the animals, the parasites are never going to be able to reinvest.”

Another bonus to having the three species share land is that parasites are “species specific.”

A goat parasite will not affect a pig and vice versa,” Bengtson said. “Same with the cattle. Basically, once the goats are done in a field and we bring in the pigs, any parasites left behind by the goats won’t affect the pigs.”

A low level of parasites means the animals’ own immune systems can work properly. It also means not having to use parasite medicines or supplements.

“We refuse to use chemicals in our animals,” Bengtson said. “It’s like you’re poisoning them to keep them alive, which is just a silly thing to do. You’re never going to have a totally parasite-free goat, for example, but all you need to do is keep them at a level that’s naturally manageable.”

Bengtson and Fulcher moved to Texas County from Northwest Georgia about two years ago. They sell mostly breeding stock, preferring to raise animals based on “quality, not quantity.” BF Farm covers about 200 acres, with about 50 acres cordoned off into 12 pasture spaces ranging from two to 10 acres. The sections are where the three-species rotation occurs and are separated by about 14,000 feet of goat fencing and feature 23 gates that make moving from section to section easier. The rest of the acreage is dedicated solely to cattle.

Land at BF Farm in Huggins, Mo., is separated into 12 pastures by about 14,000 feet of goat fencing. There are 23 gates allowing access from space to space.

“Fifty acres is sufficient for what we want to do with the goats and pigs,” Bengtson said.

Another technique employed at BF Farm is one that’s slowly becoming more popular: Stockpiling. Basically, it means growing tall grass in given fields that holds over as cattle feed in cold, non-growing months.

“We don’t do any baling of hay whatsoever,” Bengtson said. “We have two fields where we’ll start stockpiling during August and that gets our cattle through the whole winter. Another advantage to just having fewer quality animals is that we don’t need as many animals and therefore don’t have to bale hay. Compared to most other breeders, our feed costs are extremely low.”

And no baling, of course, means no expensive baling equipment.

“I’m a businessman,” Bengtson said, “and our strategy of getting a good return on our investment has worked. But the animals are eating dried out grass in the winter, which is basically the same as hay.”

In large part due to the quality of goat droppings as fertilizer, not much fertilizer is purchased for spreading on BF Farm’s fields. Bengtson said that because of the unconventional approach he and Fulcher take, they enjoy a much lower total overhead than most livestock farmers and breeders.

They also enjoy telling people about what they do and how they do it.

“There are definitely alternatives,” Bengtson said. “We have no intention of keeping anything we do to ourselves. We would just as soon see lots more people doing the same thing.”

THE KUNEKUNE PIG

The kunekune  prononced  “KOO-KNEE, KOO-KNEE.” Meaning Fat and Round, is a small breed of domestic pig weighing under 250lbs, originating from New Zealand. 1st imported to the US in the early 1990's, Kunekune can have a smooth fine or curly coat with a round build, and may or may not have wattles hanging from their lower jaws. Their colors from black and white, to ginger, cream, brindle, black, brown and tri-colored. They have a docile, friendly nature, and are now often kept as pets.

How big do KuneKune pigs get?
Females average 100 to 175 pounds, while males can reach the 200 to 250-plus range. They have short, upturned snouts that discourage rooting, and they do not challenge fences. Kunekunes are grazing pigs and are able to grow on low inputs, making them an ideal breed during periods of escalating grain prices.

What are KuneKune pigs used for?
They are excellent grazers and pasture managers in places like orchards and vineyards. They also make excellent quality meat. As a heritage breed, the KuneKune meat is RED and deeply marbled, almost like fine steak. They also produce fine lard which can be used in cooking, baking and soap making.

How much does a KuneKune pig cost?
Cost of a bred KuneKune ranges from $800-$1,600, and an average litter is about eight piglets. Durrett prefers to breed her pigs only once a year

How long do Kune Kune live?
8 to 15 years
Kunekune have lovely temperaments. They love having a fuss made of them and will lie for hours while you rub their tummies. They live for 8 to 15 years. They have to be wormed every 6 months by giving an injection you can do yourself.

How much should I feed my Kune Kune pig?
Kunekunes require 1/7 to 1/4 the amount of grain of standard pigs, but they do still need some grain in combination with their grazing to make sure their diet is complete. This is especially true of young (birth through one year), pregnant, and lactating pigs.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How big do KuneKune pigs get?
Females average 100 to 175 pounds, while males can reach the 200 to 250-plus range. They have short, upturned snouts that discourage rooting, and they do not challenge fences. Kunekunes are grazing pigs and are able to grow on low inputs, making them an ideal breed during periods of escalating grain prices.
What are KuneKune pigs used for?
They are excellent grazers and pasture managers in places like orchards and vineyards. They also make excellent quality meat. As a heritage breed, the KuneKune meat is RED and deeply marbled, almost like fine steak. They also produce fine lard which can be used in cooking, baking and soap making.
How much does a KuneKune pig cost?
Cost of a bred KuneKune ranges from $800-$1,600, and an average litter is about eight piglets. Durrett prefers to breed her pigs only once a year.
How long do Kune Kune live?
8 to 15 years
Kunekune have lovely temperaments. They love having a fuss made of them and will lie for hours while you rub their tummies. They live for 8 to 15 years. They have to be wormed every 6 months by giving an injection you can do yourself.
How much should I feed my Kune Kune pig?
Kunekunes require 1/7 to 1/4 the amount of grain of standard pigs, but they do still need some grain in combination with their grazing to make sure their diet is complete. This is especially true of young (birth through one year), pregnant, and lactating pigs.
Do KuneKune pigs smell?
KuneKune pigs are usually very clean animals, with minimal smell and often do not affect those with pet allergies. They are generally quiet animals, but may scream if they are frightened or do not get their own way.

Our Customers 

Over the years we have sold and shipped our pigs and piglets to customers in

Alabama • Arizona • Arkansas • Colorado • Connecticut •  Florida • Georgia • Illinois • Indiana • Iowa • Kansas • Kentucky • Louisiana •  Michigan • Minnesota • Mississippi • Nebraska • New Mexico • New York • North Carolina • Ohio • Oklahoma • Pennsylvania •  Tennessee • Texas •  Utah • Virginia •  Wisconsin