Harvest was in full swing at Rix Farms in Groton when I stopped by on a fall afternoon. Tracy Rix and her children—Conrad, Roscoe, and Gideon—were helping season the pork for dinner at the kitchen island.
“You should really go outside and see the pigs,” Tracy said.
I headed out back, and three pigs were rolling around, caked with fresh mud after some rain that morning. Two of the boys followed me and were taking turns jumping off haystacks.
“We have just completed soybeans and are about half done with our corn harvest,” said Grant, the farmer, husband, and father.
The Rix family started raising pigs after Grant’s sister-in-law had extra piglets.
“My sister-in-law raises pigs as certified organic and grain-free animals and sells the meat to individuals and a local co-op food market under the name Bumpy Road Ranch,” he said. “My wife and I decided it would be fun to raise our own pork, and it would be a great teaching opportunity for our children to know where their food comes from.”
While the children are still young, they “do what they can” to feed and water the pigs.
Try the Rix’s pork recipe.
+ 2 T brown sugar
+ 2 tsp chili powder
+ 1 tsp garlic powder
+ 1 tsp salt
+ 1/2 tsp pepper
+ 1 T olive oil
+ 1 1/2 cups apple cider
+ 1/4 cups maple syrup
+ 1 T Dijon mustard
+ 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
+ 1/2 tsp pepper
+ 1/2 tsp salt
Take four pork chops, and season both sides with the rub. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sear one side, and glaze the other. Wait two minutes, and flip. Apply glaze to that side, and immediately put the skillet into a 450-degree oven. Bake until desired doneness: for around eight minutes.
Grant hopes generational farming will continue at the Rix Farms.
“Farming is a very noble way of life,” he said. “It is a service to food production for the whole world. Farmers raise the food everyone eats, and it all starts with the soil.”
Grant serves as the president of the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council, is on the Groton Area School Board, is on the North East Special Education Co-op board of directors, and serves as the treasurer of the Brown County Mud Creek Watershed District.
A myth Grant hopes to clear up is that farmers only care about getting the most out of their commodity.
“Farmers and ranchers care about everything they do,” he said. “Whether it is the soil health, the health of their animals, or the health of their neighbors in their community.”
With an average harvest after a dry summer, Grant says 2022 is looking promising thus far.
“We have recently caught some good rains in late August and September that have built up our soil water profile, so spring is already looking to have a great start,” he said.
For more information, visit THISISFARMING.ORG.