Our 101st Year In Pursuit of Purebred Swine Excellence
Our family began raising purebred showpigs in 1916 when my grandfather Chester Meal purchased his first purebred Poland Chinas under the Home Place Farm banner. Home Place Farm had a great run in the 1930s thru the 1940's including showing 5 purebred Poland China barrows to Grand Champion 4-H honors @ the Indiana State Fair in '33, '40, '47, '48 & '49. We believe that is the most Grand Overall barrows any single family has shown @ the Indiana State Fair. Chester judged most every major show of the day and worked as a fieldman for the Poland China association. (Side note - Chester was also president of the Indiana REMC in its formative years and was credited by his successor for: "Doing more to bring electricity to rural Indiana than any other single person.” Has nothing to do with pigs but pretty cool to have in your heritage.)
The baton was passed on to my father Bill Laird as he purchased his first Polands - a boar named Kinsman & a gilt named Faith B. - from Chester. He then later married Chester's youngest daughter Faith. Bill Laird & Family showed several grand boars & gilts at the Indiana State Fair and national type conferences and placed three Poland barrows in the InSF 4-H Spotlight sale. They also dabbled in the Spot breed and were co-owners of "Scope" who was a very successful sire in the Spot breed and won Grand Overall Boar at the Indiana State Fair as an older Sr Yearling boar.
I was very fortunate to be able to show Roger Hale's best in the late 70's. At that time there were very few breeders as hot as Roger and that resulted in having the honor of showing several Grand Overall Litters and 2 Champion Crossbred Gilts at the InSF. Unfortunately there was no Grand Overall gilt at that time.
Ted Laird Hampshires began in 1982 when I used my portion of the proceeds from one of our InSF Spotlight Sale Poland barrows to purchase the Reserve Champion Hampshire gilt from Larry & Joe Rule @ the Indiana State Sale. Long-time family friend John L. Fox offered to breed this gilt to the Indiana State Fair Champion Boar that year from Ken Dorrell and we showed gilts out of this sow to 1st & 3rd in her first litter @ Indiana State Fair Open Show. A couple of years later I purchased a bred gilt from Stanley Martins that was bred to Kaw-Li-Ga. That gilt raised the top selling gilt @ the InSF and was purchased by the Rodibaugh Family. Stanley Martins & Kaw-Li-Ga dominated that era like very few breeders & boars have and his on–farm sales were one of the premier events of the year and many times his sales totaled more than Summer Type Conferences. One of my strongest memories from that period was being able to see Mr. Martin's R & D group of gilts housed at “Vern's Place”. That set of gilts rolling out of the barn was one of the more impressive sites I have seen and taught me that laying in great females in large quantity was an absolute key to breeding elite breeding stock. I have been hooked on Hampshire females ever since and breeding better Hampshire females remains my primary addiction. We are proud that we have had the opportunity to raise several class-winning Hampshire gilts @ NJSS events & Indiana State Fair Jr & Open shows. We are also very proud to have produced the Champion Hampshire Gilt @ the 2012 OYE (shown by Cody Day) and her littermate who is one of the few Hampshire gilts to win Grand Overall @ an NJSA event with Lexi Hernandez's win @ the NJSA Western in 2011.
We got lucky with a once-in-a-lifetime purchase of the 2008 Team Purebred from the Eric Schaffer family that we named Miss Hathaway. Miss H jump-started us in the Berkshire breed at a time when they are as hot as any breed on the planet. She is a true foundation that has produced Grand Boar & Gilt @ InSF, Hog College Boar & Gilt, $3600 Top-Selling gilt @ InSF amongst many, many other great offspring. She is still going strong and her influence can be seen not only in our herd but in many of the top Berkshire herds across the country. in 2013 her daughters have produced the Champion Berkshire Gilt @ WPX, the Reserve Gilt @ San Angelo, & SuperFly the who is now in stud @ PBG.
We re-energized our Poland China herd with the addition of Nibbs from Jerry Masters. Nibbs has produced several excellent daughters, including the $4400 2012 Foundation Female we donated to Team Purebred who had an outstanding litter in 2012 that included Yum Yum @ Triple B. The next major step in committing to the Poland breed was the addition of a female we named Wanda who was bred by Kyle Stephens and was shown by Austin Irvin to 4th Overall @ the 2011 InSF. When we saw her coming at us in the aisle on check-in day, we knew we had to do whatever we could to own her. It took a then-record $7500 to get it done but we were / are thrilled to have her and her 1st 2 litters lead us to believe she will have a tremendous impact. Her 1st litter produced our stud boar Fired Up and her 2nd litter just produced the Reserve Poland Barrow & the 5th Overall gilt @ the 2013 WPX as well as a boar we are retaining named Case Closed. She is the most impressive pig on the farm in our opinion. .
Premium Blend Genetics began in the Spring of 2012 with the intention to house a few boars to increase conception of our sows, reduce semen cost, and sell a few doses along the way. That plan changed in an instant when Chris Jones placed Superman with us and at that point we decided to take a shot at a different level in the stud business and went all in to add Fare Warning & Bone Collector. Things have blossomed faster than what we would have ever dreamed in our 1st year as the plan for 3 to 5 boars literally changed to 35 boars in 9 months.
In July of 2012 we purchased the farm approximately 200 yards due west of our current home and that Is where our oldest son Jacob's home and the boar stud and showpig sale facility are located. Interestingly, this farm was the home place for Emily (Rigsbee) Rodibaugh - matriarch of the legendary Rodibaugh family.
In September 2012 we incorporated as Laird Premium Blend Genetics Inc.
We are very grateful to our boar partners who trusted us to promote and get great females settled to their boars and we are extremely grateful for every showpig, semen, & seedstock purchase. We understand that when you purchase from us you are not just committing financially but even more importantly committing your time and the opportunity to create memories for your families and / or your customers and their families.
We knew the key to getting the start we needed was to make sure we settled females and we have been thrilled with conception rates. Settling your females to the most elite genetics we can make available is our primary objective every day.
We look forward to continuing our family's' 101 year tradition of breeding winning showpigs and doing so with integrity.