When Tina Falcon and her husband arrived in Oklahoma for a family reunion in 1999, they had no idea they would soon leave behind their California home and dive headfirst into the hog business.
“After spending one day working in the hog barns with my cousins on the first trip, my husband was hooked,” Falcon says. “He loved the farm, he loved Oklahoma, and he said he wanted to move here and make this [industry] our livelihood.”
See more: World Has Appetite for Oklahoma Pork
It took a little more time for Tina to warm up to the idea, but today, she is in love with the beautiful scenery, friendly people and their business.
“Oklahoma is a wonderful place to raise a family and raise hogs,” she says. “We enjoy all four seasons and have a great community. We really can’t imagine raising our children or making a living anywhere else now.”
With amiable weather and ample available land, it makes sense Oklahoma is a popular place to raise swine. Current numbers suggest the state industry boasts almost 2,000 hog farms, 2.15 million hogs and employs more than 12,000 people.
The Oklahoma Pork Council (okPORK) recorded the industry has generated more than $473 million in personal income and added $785 million to the gross state product. Needless to say, the economic impact is astounding, and producers like Falcon play a vital role. Her involvement with okPORK has had a positive impact on the industry and her fellow producers.
“Tina has been a great supporter of okPORK as a board member, events volunteer and overall advocate for the pork industry in Oklahoma,” says Roy Lee Lindsey, executive director of the Oklahoma Pork Council. “She and her family are excellent hog farmers and influential members of our community, and we’re lucky to have them involved in our industry here.”
Since relocating to Oklahoma in 2002, the Falcons have acquired two hog farms. They are the proud owners of Falcon Family Farms, LLC and Triple F Swine, LLC. Their two units combined have a total of 1,800 hogs.
“Both of our farms are farrow-to-wean operations,” Falcon says. “We artificially inseminate our hogs and keep the piglets until they are old enough to wean. From there, they are transported to another producer to continue growing until they reach market weight.”
The Falcons shipped more than 60,000 piglets in 2018.
While it would be easy to find pride in just quantity, the family believes quality matters more. At any given time, they are responsible for tens of thousands of animals. Falcon believes the health and safety of the animals should come before profit.
“This is more than a job,” she says. “This is our livelihood.”
She and her husband have five children and various other responsibilities. They spend 365 days a year tending to their animals with care, making sure they have everything they need to grow strong and healthy.
The work is inarguably challenging, but the reward of a job well done makes all the blood, sweat and tears that go into running two livestock farms worthwhile.
“At the end of the day, we’re proud to be Oklahoma hog farmers,” Falcon says. “It’s hard, honest work – and we’re honored to supply not only the state, but the rest of the world, with a safe and healthy product.”