PENDER COUNTY -- One Pender County farmer says pricey produce is making it hard for farms to survive. Pig farmer Donald Hall said, "I've been raising hogs for about 16 years. It's not a hard job, you just need to keep up with what's going on." Hall raises more than 30,000 pigs each year. For an independent farmer the process could be very expensive. Hall says many farmers who are handling the job on their own just aren't making ends meat. Hall has help. An integrator, or middle man, provides the pigs and the feed and all this farmer has to do is help them grow. Hall said, "Without the integrator, the hogs and the feed an independent just wouldn't make it in this day and time." That's because feeding these animals isn't cheap, especially with the rising costs of corn -- a hot commodity used to make ethanol. Hall says his pigs go through more than two million pounds of feed in a single year. "It's hard to make money out there on your own when you try and grow hogs. An integrator that we get the feed from, that's the man that has to worry about that," Hall said. The bigger the pig the more feed it requires. Hall says without his supplier, he'd simply be out of business. Hall has other mouths to feed besides his pigs. He also raises thousands of chickens.
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