Sometimes, when I’m avoiding more important work, I dig through the Library of Congress online database for vintage pig and hog pictures. This one is undated, but I’d place it mid-1900s if I had to wager a guess. And on the later end of “mid,” at that.
It was taken inside the South Omaha Union Stockyards to show off the facility’s covered hog pens. If you look closely you’ll notice electricity, concrete floors, professional mill quality lumber and posts, and many other hallmarks of the quickly-modernizing ag industry of the day. Of course the hogs themselves are a clue, too. They’re thinner than we usually see in pictures from the early 1900s and prior, and taller too. There are notched ears here and I even spy what looks like a plastic ear tag on the pig in the lower left hand corner. And can anyone out there find the duroc? Durocs were developed in the early 1800s, but it wasn’t until 1950 that they started really beefing them out and using them for show pigs. And with his bear-like build, I’d say this particular duroc is quite the show-type. As is the Hampshire in front of him.
As a fun aside, the Berkshire in the center, halfway back, with his head hidden behind that yorkshire’s tail? Looks an awful lot like our Berkshire boar, Geoff Petersen. Lots of folks might say there’s not much to brag about in having pigs that resemble pigs from fifty years ago, but this is the era of pigs with which I’m rather smitten, so I’ll take it. They were still fat enough to be flavorful, fast enough growing not to put the farmer out of business and those long, strong legs meant they could get around outdoor terrain without darn-near dragging their bellies on the ground. I like a hog with a little daylight, even if it means I have to feed them a little extra to put that height on ‘em. Also? Hog hocks!