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Meet a teen farmer earning profits from pasture-raised pigs

In our NewsHour Shares moment of the day, a hard-working 15-year-old turns a swine project into a profitable business. This story is part of our Student Reporting Lab series Making It Work.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The nation’s largest youth development organization, 4-H, has been preparing young people for careers in agriculture and farming for over 100 years.

    As part of the “NewsHour”‘s Student Reporting Labs series Making It Work, Alexis Lesher and a team of students at Cedar Crest High School in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, report on how one hard working 15-year-old turned a swine project into a profitable business.

  • Alexis Lesher:

    If you happen to stop by Grumbine’s Berkshires and Farm, you will be surprised at who greets you.

    Business owner Dakota Grumbine is only 15 years old. He started the business as a 4-H project when he was just 8, but it didn’t get off to a smooth start.

  • Dakota Grumbine:

    When I first started off, I didn’t really have any luck as far as the breeding standpoint goes. I couldn’t get pigs settled. The litters were small. Not many of them had a second litter, or they just didn’t work out. So it took me a while to get a sow base built up.

  • Alexis Lesher:

    Dakota now has 20 sow, four boars, and almost 200 customers. He breeds pasture-raised Berkshire pigs, which command a higher price, over a dollar more per pound than regular commercial pork.

  • Dakota Grumbine:

    There’s a lot more management involved, as opposed to when I had five sows, where I knew all the sows off the top of my head, their ear notches and everything.

    Now I have got to write that down or keep track of it somewhere, because I can’t remember all of that information anymore.

  • Alexis Lesher:

    Dakota created a Web site about his product and sells to butcher shops and restaurants. He has traveled as far as Illinois, Iowa and Ohio to learn more about the business.

    His father has also helped him with the business and says that it’s beneficial that Dakota has started so young.

  • Darren Grumbine:

     The younger you are when you start something, the easier it is to pick it up. I see other kids don’t enjoy certain opportunities such as public speaking and talking to strangers. He did that stuff at such a young age, that now he doesn’t even really think about some of those things that hold a lot of kids back.

  • Alexis Lesher:

    He goes to school seven hours a day for five days a week, like any other student, but when he gets home, he has to do his homework, while still keeping enough time to manage his pigs.

  • Dakota Grumbine:

     He balances it pretty well. He does well in school. And he has some things that he does for fun that he really enjoys.

  • Alexis Lesher:

    Dakota’s business is starting to pay off financially, too. He makes an annual profit, which is increasing each year.

  • Dakota Grumbine:

     Even if I don’t continue raising hogs for the rest of my life, it’s experience at a young age of coming home every day and having responsibility.

    I can walk away with a lot of different assets as far as management and time management, money management, you name it. The farming industry and especially the hog industry encompasses a lot of things that I will be able to use later on in life.

  • Alexis Lesher:

    For the “PBS NewsHour” Student Reporting Labs, this is Alexis Lesher in Lebanon, Pennsylvania

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And what an impressive young man Dakota is.

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