Monday, July 5, 2010

rc farms, Las Vegas. Food recycling

Rc farms is a pig farm that was featured on an episode of "dirty jobs", where they talked about the operation, and "americas heartland" does an indepth exploration in this youtube clip

The farm is surrounded on all sides by completely built subdivisions. RC farms is on the right side of this street, and landscaped subdivisions are on the other side.
The houses that are built around it are very nice. They'd qualify as a nice neighborhood in any other part of the country... but here, across the street from this hog farm, the quality of life apparently suffers a bit. Here's a quote:

"by Michelle 02/05/2010

This farm is disgusting! It makes the whole city smell for miles. I don't mean a little pig smell either, it smells like rotten garbage and is so over powering that you can not stand outside without gagging! The area also contains lots of garbage, old rusty run down cars and mobile homes. It looks like a garbage lot and smells even worse! Who knows what else is out there and why the city allows all the garbage in his area when they are so strict on the neighborhoods. Nothing like spending over $200,000 for a home I have to stay inside of because it stinks so bad outside...." quote from this site.

In fact, the pig farm has impact on the only undeveloped tract that borders it.

Just to be clear; when I drove around this farm the smell was so strong that I gagged downwind. North Las Vegas seems to be ok with being close to the farm. In fact, they've built this beautiful new school RIGHT NEXT TO IT
I like Bobs' emphasis on recycling, and I have to admit I admire him taking a problem and making an innovative solution. This farm has been there for quite a while; at least 40 years, and all of these houses and school were built in the full knowledge of what was there and what the conditions were like.

Here, a neat and tidy subdivision on the left, and pig manure in piles on the right. I'm not saying composting because I didn't see any turning or handling of this; these piles are just scraped out of the pig paddocks and piled by the gate. The piles are composed of rotten, uneaten food, pig waste (solid and liquid) and bits of inedible stuff like plastic containers and other stuff that comes in through the waste stream they're feeding the pigs. If I were to use that material as fertilizer I'd probably want to make sure that it was composted well to a safe temperature and then screened to remove the plastic. This is where I was gagging as I took these photos.
Inside the farm the paddocks are divided into smaller areas, and there are numerous shade structures (well, they'd work for rain as well, but it being nevada, I think that shade is more valued by these pigs. Because of the way they cook and feed the pigs, they end up being frosted like doughnuts with a crust of uneaten food that dries hard on them. In a perfect world I'd like to see the pigs have a mud area where they could cool down, but all of these animals seemed to be fine, wandering around or dozing. They have a lot of space, so in that sense they're "pastured".
the bare dirt is mostly pig manure and dried pig urine and smells very bad. I'm guessing that is inevitable if you stock pigs at this density.

Next to the pig farm is a smaller operation that appears to be a cattle feedlot.
At this operation there's no shade for the cows, but there is protection for the hay.
The hay is tossed over the fence to the cows. Seems like a sideline; only about 100 heads. Big feedlots get tens of thousands of head of cattle.


Anonymous said...

The pigs appear content. The pens are so flimsy, if they were unhappy, they'd just bust out.

It is important to avoid anthropomorphizing. Sure, humans wouldn't be happy in those conditions, but pigs are different than humans.

damae said...


Really? I can't imagine why anthropomorphizing would be so important to avoid?? Did you decide that all on your own? or did you learn that in a text book somewhere on your way to a college degree?? lol.
I cannot think of any normal healthy animal that would choose to live in the stench of it's own excrement if it was allowed free range. What pigs are capable of tolerating and what would make them content are likely two different things. While that fencing may look flimsy (all it takes to contain a pig is a hotwire at the right height)I'd guess the pigs are smart enough to know where their next meal is coming from, and if they are surrounded by more barren desert, there wouldn't be much to tempt them to actually break out. Also, that fence doesn't exactly look pristine and untouched. Your simple attempt at logic isn't convincing, imo.
So am I anthropomorphizing when I attempt to keep my critters water troughs clean enough that I wouldn't mind drinking out of them? Treating my poor dumb animals like they are human, SHAME on me!!

Anonymous said...

So the pig farm is not as well managed as it should be, so it does smell worse than necessary, but if it has been there 40 years, why did they build houses right next to it and not expect any odors? I get real tired of city people expecting all of their "rights," and farm people getting criticized! Usually we were here first!

Anonymous said...

As a third generation hog farmer, I think it's extremely foolish that city people who knew that there was a hog farm there for over 40yrs.,before they moved there, are only now starting to complain about the smell...the animals..and all the "eye-sores". I hate when hardworking,honest people get cut down because of their type of buisness. If you really thought about it...where does your pork come from? Your bacon...your porkchops etc. It comes from hog farming. Now I know the smell isn't the most pleasent smell in the world, but like the person above me said.. Most times "we were here first!".

Now in kindergarden they ask you what do you wanna be when you grow up...most kids will say a etc. But if someone were to say some type of farmer..he or she would get critisized! But little do they know of that person's background. I feel that farming is a very important way of life. It's very healthy and rewarding. It keeps kids out of trouble...and shows you the values of a dollar and it's good honest work!

So please don't critisize hog farmers on what we do...or smell...or dress,because were the ones putting the food on your table!!

another hog farmer

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend is a hog farmer, when I first moved in with him I didn't understand why someone would choose this line of work. But as the days past, I got more involved. I myself was never involved in the farming lifestyle..people thought of me as a city girl...a girl who would never get dirty. People whom are closest to me never thought in their lifetime that they would see me as I am today. As the months past I found this to be the most rewarding job, not only does hog farming feed you, but you also learn how it feels to work hard for something. Isn't that what they teach you in school? That in order to reach your have to "work hard".

When I first moved here..I hated the smell..the pigs screaming for their food..the whole thing! But once your here, doing hard labor, and understanding why their doing what their doing, it changes your perspective on things. Now I love doing what I's hard work,no doubt, but it pays off in the end.

With hope,
another pig farmer ;)

Anonymous said...

All that has to be said is............ the farm was there LONG before the snooty people decided to move into the area and try to make it theirs. you dont like it. dont move in!!!! How was the IDIOT that did not notice a pig farm when they were looking for a home.

Anonymous said...

I live in North Las Vegas....about 2 years ago, I was looking for the home in the area surrounding the pig farm. It was my decision not to live next door to it, jus like it was when people who chose to buy $200,000 homes right across the street.

The farm has been there for 40-plus years. The deveopers knew it was there. The prospective home buyers knew it was there. So in all, if you chose to move there.... SUCK IT UP and stop being babies about it. You knew it was knew what you were getting into.

The owners and operators at RC Farms are trying to make an honest living like anyone else out there. They chose farming rather than working for some yuppie lawyer, or being in the gaming/hotel industry.

I give a major thumbs up the the people at RC farms! Not many people would be able to do what they do...lets face it..Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs looked as though he could barely do it.

Unknown said...

The comments make me laugh. How I loath and despise these crybaby Kalifornia jerkoffs who move down the street from a Pig Farm, or an Air Force Base or a shooting range and then bitch, whine, moan and groan that it's not "good enough".

DO YOUR HOMEWORK, you whiny Kommiefornian!

The Shocker, Arizona (Free America)

Hotdogczar said...

I'd like to order bacon from his farm and I don't see a website for them.Is there one?


Bruce King said...

I don't know how they sell their pigs. Have you tried calling them ?