Bringing Home the Bacon


Celeste Laut

Laut’s Hog Farm (Home Farm).

Celeste Laut, Writer


The pond next to the home farm.

Laut’s Hog Farm (LHF) has been around for a long time. Don senior and Pat Laut started the business in 1968 with their six kids: Don junior, Sandra, Doug, Sharon, Selma, and Walter Laut. The idea of this farm started when Don senior wanted to get a sense of how farming worked, just to see if it could become a hobby. Don and Pat lived near St. Louis in South County until 1966, which is when they moved to start Laut’s Hog farm. When they got to Fredericktown they built a log cabin near the farm to be closer. When they first started out their business they sold their feeder pigs to a feeder pig market in Marble Hill; when the business got bigger they started selling the pigs to Lynch Livestock in Iowa.

There are now about 5,000 sows (mom pigs), and they produce about 30 pigs per sow in a year, averaging 12 piglets per litter. The Laut’s Hog Farm functions today as a home farm that develops gilts (female pigs that have not had a litter) for Jayce Mountain Pork. In addition to this Jayce Mountain Pork has now become the main business for the Laut family, making it their main farm.

The farm’s view of a beautiful mountain.

The Laut’s started building Jayce Mountain Pork in 2015. The idea that sparked it was when Don junior went to a meeting that discussed new technology and how it helped out their businesses. When Don junior got back from the meeting, he brought it up to Doug and Walter, the other owners of the farm. They all liked the idea, and instead of putting all the new technology in Laut’s Hog Farm, they built a new farm. The new technology consists of feed systems, ventilation, emergency alarm systems, and even tags for the hogs to see where they are and how much they’ve eaten in a day. The owners can also track how many piglets they have; this has helped out the farm tremendously.

One of the biggest fears for a hog farmer is if there ever was a big outbreak of disease. It takes a process involving both pigs and people to prevent this potentially huge setback: the new gilts that are brought to Jayce Mountain Pork are isolated and cleaned at Laut’s Hog Farm, and farmers also have to shower before and after they leave the farm to prevent any hogs getting sick.

Leah Thompson sweeping and making a clean environment for her co-workers.

Employees are a big part of the farm; they help keep the hogs healthy and safe and also keep everything clean. Leah Thompson, who is a junior, says she enjoys cleaning the facilities and creating a clean environment for employees. She also enjoys working with her family members. Leah’s favorite thing about the farm would be having a flexible schedule and bosses who care about her as an employee. Leah explains how they are always willing to work with her on her schedule so she can still have time for fun stuff as a high school student. Leah has been working at both farms for about a year; she began in 2021 when she got her driver’s license.

Leah Thompson cleaning the showers for employees.

Leah cleans five different buildings on a routine each Tuesday and Thursday. For one of the days she switches between the GDU (one of the buildings) and the LHF; she says those buildings usually take anywhere between 3-4 hours. On another day she always cleans at Jayce Mountain Pork; that building is bigger so it takes 5-6 hours every time. The other two buildings are the washout and the DDW, and they each take around an hour to do. So on average, she will put in 10-12 hours at the farm on a weekly basis.


Donnie Laut operating machinery.

Another high school student who works on the farm is sophomore, Donnie Laut. Donnie says that working at the farm this year was very good. He said, “it’s a lot of work but at the same time enjoyable.” Donnie has worked at the farm for as long as he could remember, and always helped out in any way he could when he was little.

Donnie Laut driving a tractor.

Donnie says that the most difficult part of his job is having to work on school nights and having to deal with sports at the same time. He works about 8 hours on weekdays and 19 hours on weekends.

The future is bright for Laut’s Hog Farm and Jayce Mountain Pork. There are a ton of wonderful people currently working there and more to come!