Owner, PhD in Animal Breeding and Genetics, Certified, email@example.com
Owner, PhD in Microbiology, firstname.lastname@example.org
Consulting Partner, PhD in Industrial and Agricultural Technology, email@example.com
Consulting Partner, PhD in Agricultural Education (Extension Education), firstname.lastname@example.org
Head Herdsman, Hawkeye Institute of Technology, email@example.com
It all started for the person, who is husband and father to us but known as “Pete” or “Doc” to others, in 1939. In that year, his uncle J. Arthur Hoffman (“Unc”) and father Mark W. Hoffman purchased five acres in the rolling hills of Berks County, PA, which provided the first opportunity for the family to raise hogs. With 12 sows of primarily Poland China breeding, they produced feeder pigs which were sold privately or through several on-farm production sales in the early 1940’s. In 1940, a second farm of 88 acres was added and a few years later, the first and smaller farm was sold. In 1941, Pete was born and his father often remarked that he had to sell a load of market hogs to pay the hospital bill before Pete and his mother could be released.
In 1950 Pete accompanied Unc to Uncle John Witter’s Hampshire sale were Unc purchased a bred gilt for Pete. From this sow several litters were produced and launched Pete in the hog business. In 1954, Mark and Pete purchased their first Berkshires for the Hoffman Farm. A young boar and gilt were purchased from Fred Elchberger, near Leesport, PA, which started the family tradition of raising Berkshire hogs. Pete was also mentored by Uncle John Witter and accompanied him numerous times to the Pennsylvania Farm Show during the mid to late fifties. In 1956, Pete purchased a bred Berkshire gilt. Several more bred gilts were purchased at the Farm Show in subsequent years which established the foundation for the Hoffman Berkshire herd. A hallmark moment during this era was when Pete exhibited the Berks County 4-H Champion market hog from a Poland China – Berkshire cross in 1958. The Hoffman Farm in Pennsylvania continued to flourish during Pete’s years at Delaware Valley College (1959-1963) and following his move to Iowa State University (1963-1969) where he received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. During this era, Mark, Unc and Pete's brother Fred maintained the herd of about 12 Berkshire sows, Unc died in 1983, but Mark and Fred continued the farm unit Mark retired in 1985. Mark passed away in 1997 and was buried with his beloved Berkshire cap in his hand.
In 1969, Pete joined the Animal Science Department at Iowa State University and also married Lorraine. At the 1970 National Barrow Show, Pete bought a Berkshire gilt named Sweet Mamie from Leroy Faint, Mt. Vernon, IA. The intention was to send her to Pennsylvania, but instead she went to George and Kelly Biensen’s farm near State Center, IA, where several litters were raised over the next couple of years.
During the 1971 National Barrow Show, Pete purchased TM Rebellion from the Finck Family in IL, and had Rebellion transported to Pennsylvania for use on the Hoffman Farm. During Easter in 1973, Kelly and Pete went to Pennsylvania and brought Rebellion back to the Biensen farm until 1974.
Pete and Lorraine purchased a 40-acre farm with modest buildings south of Ames in March, 1972 and moved there in March, 1973 and named the farm Phenotypic Acres. Sweet Mamie was the first Berkshire sow to have a litter on the farm in December of 1973. This litter sired by Rebellion who later resided at Phenotypic Acres, produced PA Blossom, who went on to be the Champion Berkshire Gilt at the 1974 Iowa State Fair and started a line of Berkshires maintained in the current herd.
At the 1974 Fall Iowa Berkshire Sale in Webster City, IA Al Christian and Pete bought Cottonwood’s Hobo Queen from Clark Conover, Holstein, IA. She was bred to Luke, purchased by Tom Conover of Bonnie Acres Farm, Holstein, IA, from Larry Stanley, Coatesville, IN, and produced PA Colonel, which was Grand Champion Berkshire Boar at the 1975 Iowa State Fair and sold for $2,500 (one-half interest) to Bonnie Acres Farm. Colonel provided significant genetic advancement for the Bonnie Acres and Phenotypic Acres herds and the Berkshire breed in general.
By the mid-1970’s, the herd had grown to 12 Berkshire sows and in 1997 Phenotypic Acres exhibited the Champion Boar and Gilt and Reserve Champion Boar at the Berkshire Summer Type Conference at Springfield, IL. Our family was fortunate to exhibit and sell numerous champions at National Berkshire Type Conferences, National Barrow Show (NBS) and Iowa State Fair during the ensuing six years.
Pete also developed an extensive farm performance testing program when hog production began at Phenotypic Acres in 1972. As the herd grew to 30 sows in the early 80’s, a decision had to be made relative to strengthening and developing the herd to meet future demands. As Berkshire boars were now well accepted by commercial hog producers, it was decided to escalate performance testing and evaluation. In an effort to better accommodate commercial needs, 25 Duroc and 25 Yorkshire sows were added to the herd in 1985.
Over the next 15 years, merchandizing boars from each of the three breeds was vigorous.
During the mid-1980’s, it also became very apparent to Pete that more accurate genetic evaluation of performance was necessary if Berkshires were going to compete in the commercial pork production sector. Pete, with the help and support of Craig Conover of Mapleton, IA, President of the American Berkshire Association (ABA), and the ABA Board of Directors, established the Berkshire National Boar Test in 1985. Over the next 10 years, this progressive move was successful in advancing the genetic characterization of Berkshire lines for performance more than any previous tool. During this time period, the National Association of Swine Registries, in cooperation with personnel from several universities, developed the Swine Testing and Genetic Evaluation System (STAGES), which led to further genetic performance evaluation by incorporating individual, as well as maternal and paternal information. Phenotypic Acres immediately embraced and incorporated this program in the evaluation of all animals on the farm. Pete was honored to serve on the ABA Board of Directors from 1985-1993 and again from 2000 to 2006 during which time he served two one-year terms as president.
As the result of many commercial producers leaving the swine industry during the mid to late 1990’s and the development of greater demand for Berkshire meat by the export market, especially to Pacific-rim countries, another change occurred in the Phenotypic Acres herd composition. All Duroc and Yorkshire sows were replaced by Berkshire sows so that by 2000 the herd numbered 100 Berkshire sows. Female Berkshire hogs were especially in great demand by commercial producers and barrows were sold for meat production.
When it became evident in the mid 1990's that Berkshire pork was the highest acclaimed pork by Japan, the National Barrow Show sponsored by George A Hormel and Co. developed a National Progeny Test (NPY) evaluating all breeds for meat eating quality. Documented purebred Berkshires excelled in all meat eating quality traits evaluated. When the NPT was dropped by the NBS in the following years due to lack of support by other breeds, the Berkshire breed continued with their own NPT using the same performance standards. To date over 300 Berkshire sires have been evaluated by breeders and Phenotypic Acres has owned 25 of these sires, with all eight linebred lines represented in or near the upper strata for growth, backfat and loineye area, and of course the meat eating quality traits of tenderness, juiciness, cooking loss, pH, marbling and color.
In the very late 1990's and early 2000's a team of Berkshire breeders and enthusiasts including Rodney Goodwin, Greg Innerst, Mike Telfort, Amy Smith, and Pete spent endless hours developing the American Berkshire Meat Certification Program which was launched in 2000. This program established that Berkshire Pork, the best meat eating pork in the world, could be Berkshire source verified beyond any doubt and became recognized world wide with the USDA Certified Berkshire label (Berkshire head) applied to any Berkshire pork meeting certification standards. This program has thrived and is the standard for the most outstanding meat eating pork in the world. During the 2001 to 2021 era, this program has been the basis for Phenotypic Acres existence through production of purebred breeding stock for producers to produce Berkshire market hogs and pork for distribution in the U.S.A. and world-wide, especially Japan and other Pacific rim countries which are very large consumers of pork.
As the three most important people in Pete’s life, we can honestly state that sometimes our lives have been peculiarly different from that which we might have envisioned, mainly because of involvement in a hands-on swine enterprise and living on a farmstead which always buzzes with activity. Pete’s avocational passion – Berkshire hogs – has become part of us and we have found peace, joy, and love, and from the wonderful fraternity of which we are an integral part. Thank you all for the caring and lasting friendships and memories. Pete is a a positive leader, an undying advocate of Berkshires, a tireless implementer of change, and a true missionary for Berkshires and the swine industries in general.
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