Farm barter champion

Meet Cletus, the goat I traded for pig gonads. Well, the removal of said pig reproducitve organs actually.


Yesterday was quite a day. First I traded a piglet for a giant 5 gallon pail of raw honey. That, in and of itself, made for quite an afternoon. I love the barter system-it makes me feel like I own an old timey trading post. But round two of my day made it even better.


The last pig delivery I had to make was to our friends just a few miles away. We had made a deal to trade our last boar pig for a Hampshire gilt that had received in a group of pigs they acquired via, if I have my facts straight, a barter for riding lessons (do you sense a pattern here?). Their new pigs were still intact as was the one I was bringing them but I headed that way under the impression that a "real" pig farmer was coming to do the belated castration for everyone.


Well, as it turned out, I had my information wrong and that "real pig farmer" was me and the other pig farmer was just there to hold them. Before I go any further, let me just note that I have only castrated 6 pigs total--and the first 5 were under the direct supervision of my local vet. I only have a marginal idea of what I am doing and to be honest, the procedure intimidates the hell out of me. But on a farm, you gotta do what you gotta do to get the job done.


And now I was being asked to get the job done of castrating three 40-50lb boars (compared to doing them at 4-5lbs!). Of course, I had not brought a proper scalpel and so the scramble for surgical "equipment" began. We settled on new super sharp razorblades doubly disinfected in rubbing alcohol.


Pig castration is actually quite noninvasive and they are never in a true "sterile" environment, so we thought it wasn't probably any worse than what happens at a cattle branding. The procedure went shockingly well. The pressure of having several people watch me, including a real pig farmer, made me faster than I have ever been before. Bing, bang-no more balls.


Shortly after we completed the task, my friends mentioned that they were planning to get rid of their rodeo practice goat now that the season had ended and as, Evie at that exact moment was having a "I love goats" moment over by the goat pen, my friend turned to me and said "Say, YOU don't happen to want a goat, do you?" And so it was that at about 8:45 last night, you could find me driving our poor, abused Chevy Suburban in the rain with a piglet in a dog kennel and a pygmy goat named Cletus tied by his collar to the back seat belt holder. A goat that was ultimately traded for some pig castrating and a few pounds of honey... Heather Benson--South Dakota Farm Barter Queen of 2015.



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Vermillion, SD 57069

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