In Throwback Thursday articles, we look back at the history of Pork Network and the pork industry. This week, we're throwing it back to January 1982 for a closer look into the life of Wayne Maschhoff. Maschhoff is the patriarch of the The Maschhoffs, Inc. family, now one of the largest family-owned pork production companies in the United States.
Wayne Maschhoff sits atop his John Deere corn picker thinking about what any farmer would whenever he's harvesting corn. He thinks about his two sons; Ken, 21 and David, 24, and his 14-year-old daughter, Marla. His wife, Marlene. The missed opportunities through the season or the day. And how to better use time during the day.
The stalks fall under the sharp cutter blades and the ears are whisked up the storage chute by an auger.
Wayne says the main reason he keeps on harvesting corn, feeding hogs and repairing machinery is for the personal satisfaction he gets. Another reason is because he has a "lot of debts." he says. He's always current and will even borrow the money to pay the bills, harvest or not.
He has engineered a lot of corn harvests since he left the Air Force in 1956 to start farming. Despite a poor harvest in 1980, Wayne has remained optimistic.
“We've had price slumps before; this one is just lasting longer than most. There are easier ways to make a living without the interest rates. Right now, the economic conditions are not favorable. Beginning farmers would be looking at a lot of hard work."
He and his wife were looking at a lot of hard work ahead of them when they married. They owned half interest in 10 gilts, the other half was owned by Wayne's father. But because Wayne has been such an optimist at farming, the Maschhoffs have added a new structure or rebuilt older buildings for each of their 27 years of marriage. They even built their home.
Wayne says, “When we were married, we didn't think about getting a toaster. Instead we dreamed about how many thousands of hogs we would raise."
They now own 480 acres on their crop and hog farm. They've recently finished a solar farrowing house with gestation, breeding and nursery additions that will allow them to market 9,000 hogs a year-twice what they now market.
When Wayne and his sons build, they try to find ways to save money. They' re not afraid to try new ideas, modify them for their operation and make them for less money. For example, few producers would think of using the rods from an old oil derrick as support rods in concrete.
“Time's expensive. That's why we do all our own repairing," he says.
Wayne Maschhoff moves deliberately and quickly. He doesn't mince words. When he does talk. his friends say they can always count on what he says.
“If he says he'll sell you those feeder pigs with that breeding or weight, you can bet those are the ones he‘ll deliver," one neighbor said.
Wayne is one of those rare individuals who can excel at anything he tries. He can learn well, then successfully apply what he learns. A local preacher once tried to convince Wayne‘s parents to send Wayne to college, saying he could be more than a farmer. But Wayne had wanted to be a farmer ever since he was six.
Since then-for the past 43 years-Wayne has been trying to learn how to farm better. He reads all the industry market newsletters and farm magazines he can find time to scan. He has exchanged ideas with other farmers when he served on the county Farm Bureau board of directors for 15 years and the state pork producers board for about eight years. From these positions and readings, he was able to develop an enterprise worthy of the Prairie Farmer’s Master Farmer award and to be one of the Pork All-Americans. He modestly doesn't remember what year he won the awards.
Wayne is more than proud of his job because it's his whole life. He can account for every building and nearly every board on the place. He's the kind of farmer who has impressed upon his children the importance of farming. Both sons want to farm and he says his daughter would rather castrate pigs than wash dishes any day.
Wayne Maschhoff is a go-getter. Aggressive. Optimistic. Honest. The combine pulls close to the truck, unloads, then Wayne starts out to harvest another four rows as fast as he can go.