Locally Grown: Courtney Albrecht
Interviews with South Dakotans finding success outside their college major by Kyle Hallberg.
For most people, being a collegiate athlete, a Nursing student and still finding time to sleep would be a major accomplishment within itself. For Redfield native, Courtney Albrecht, the addition of raising feeder pigs was necessary for the summer to feel equally packed and busy.
In between the beginning of school and the selling of her pigs, Albrecht sat down with me, a self proclaimed city slicker, to explain to me the inner workings of balancing farm life and academic life, piggies and all.
Kyle Hallberg: What is your major?
Courtney Albrecht: I am going for Nursing.
That takes a certain kind of person. Have you always been into science and stuff?
CA: I guess you could say that. I like it more than anything else.
Nice. So besides school, what do you do when you are home or during the summer?
CA: Well I live on a farm just outside of Redfield, South Dakota. During the school year I am on the Track team, and I play a ton of softball during the summer, as well as taking care of my piggies.
Speaking of your piggies, can you explain to me what exactly that means?
CA: Basically, I buy little feeder pigs that weigh about 50 lbs, feed them until they’re around 250 lbs, and then I sell them as butcher hogs.
Interesting. Did this start as a family thing?
CA: No, my Dad raises cattle, so I’ve always been around livestock, but I wanted to do something myself. I originally wanted my own heifers, but the return of profit would be too long and my dad would end up taking care of them while I’m at school. Hogs don’t take as long, so it is something I can do during the summer while I’m home. I also really liked the idea that I could sell them all locally when they are ready.
So, you’ve grown up in the world of livestock sales. There is a lot more to it than I thought. How many pigs do you buy at once?
CA: Well, I only bought 39 pigs since it was my first time. But next time, I’d get at least 75.
That is a lot of piglets to take care of. Is this strictly a summer activity?
CA: Yes. I did that so I would be able to balance school, track and my hogs.
That’s a really smart idea. I feel like work on a farm is so time consuming, that it would be close to impossible to do both school and work. The one thing that I keep thinking about is getting attached to the pigs. Does that ever happen to you?
CA: I mean, I have my favorite, his name is Wilby. But with livestock, you have to remember that it is a business and as much as you love them, they are not pets.
Yeah, I think that would be the most difficult part for me. Do you think you’ll keep doing this after you graduate?
CA: I guess I haven’t really thought that far ahead yet, but I probably will. I love my piggies!
This is all pretty interesting to someone who has never lived on a farm. Do you think you’ll stick with hogs?
CA: I’m sure! It is kind of hard to explain to people who know nothing about livestock, so I hope I’ve done alright. But yeah, I think I’ll continue to work with hogs.
You have done a great job, don’t worry!
From running races all over the midwest, to raising over 30 piglets into fully grown feeder pigs, Albrecht has found the perfect way to balance two important aspects of her life, while still going to school full time to become a nurse. After speaking with Albrecht and discovering the ins and outs of feeder pigs, I realized that school, track and her piggies are all equally important to Albrecht’s future, an example of someone who finds success and achievement from multiple outlets available in her own backyard.