Just a few miles down the road from the iconic Field of Dreams you will find Jude Becker of Becker Lane Organics. Hands down there is no farmer who treats his pigs with greater care than Jude. In fact, when Alice Waters of the world famous Chez Panisse was looking for an organic pork producer decades ago she had to go all the way to Iowa to find a producer who would meet her high standards. Enter Jude. Jude began farming in 1999 after earning a degree in Agriculture Business from Iowa State. He is the sixth generation to farm his family's land. His family has always resisted the "industrial model" and has farmed with the seasons. He has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show because of his practices and the humane treatment of animals on his farm.
As an organic farm, Becker Lane Organics goes through a strict annual third-party audit each year and must meet strict standards, including no antibiotics or growth hormones and adequate space to roam for each animal. Now in his mid-40s Jude has continued to look for ways to make his farm more regenerative, including planting trees to create a windbreak and offer shade for his pigs. This "silvopasture" system invites the animals into a more native habitat by introducing trees into pastured land and providing foraging opportunities from the Mulberries, Maples, Oaks and Poplar trees.
Jude's favorite book that he recommends to folks interested in starting to farm like him is "In Meat We Trust: An Unexpected History of Carnivore America," by Maureen Ogle