MONTICELLO, Iowa — Dominic Hogan grew up in the pork industry, but his path back to the family farm had a few turns along the way.
Hogan and his family farm near Monticello, in Jones County in eastern Iowa. He and his wife, Karen, are partners with his brother, Ben, in a wean-to-finish operation, with pigs supplied by Cactus Family Farms.
“We own the buildings together, and I own one on my own as well,” Hogan says. “So we manage around 13,000 pigs. Ben has a trucking company and hauls our pigs as well as pigs for other operations. And we all help when needed.”
The couple was named Master Pork Producers by the Iowa Pork Producers Association in 2019.
Hogan’s family had a small farrow-to-finish operation when he was growing up. After graduating from Iowa State University, he started working in a sow unit his father and others had started.
“We raised the replacement gilts for several producers in our area,” Hogan says.
After five years, Hogan went to work in town selling feed for a couple of years. In 2003, he returned full time to the farm.
Five years later, Dominic and Ben built three, 1,800-head buildings. The new venture was named D&B Pork, and the brothers started out custom feeding pigs for their father and uncle.
Additional wean-to-finish buildings were constructed in 2011 and 2014. In addition to those five buildings, Hogan manages three nurseries and two finishers on the family farm. Roughly 25,000 pigs are marketed annually.
Manure from the buildings is used on the family’s 2,500 acres of corn and soybeans. Hogan said he rented some crop ground and looked into buying land, but decided his heart was elsewhere.
“That’s what led us to custom finishing. It gave us an opportunity to get started,” he says. “I rented ground for a few years. I know I’m pretty good when working with animals. I’m not sure how good I was with the crops.”
In addition to the farming operation, the Hogans keep busy with their family. They have three children — Caleb, 19; Adele, 17; and Claire, 14.
Caleb is a freshman at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, and manages a wean-to-finish site for another producer.
“We’re encouraging Caleb to look and see what’s out there, but there will be an opportunity here if he wants it,” Hogan says.
The family is also active in their community. They have been longtime members of the Jones County Pork Producers and the Jones County Farm Bureau. Hogan currently serves as the county farm bureau president.
The family is also active at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, where Dominic is on the board of education and the parish council.
“We believe in giving back to our community,” Hogan says. “We enjoy being involved and helping any way we can.”