Address: 613 Artis Cemetary Rd, Grifton NC 28530 / (866) 730-3554
About Us / Dixon Family Farms History: Jay and Pamela Dixon, along with Jay’s father and uncle, raise Animal Welfare Approved pigs in North Carolina. Dixon Family Farms spans 40 acres of pasture and cropland on sandy loam soils–what Jay calls “typical eastern North Carolina land.” They also lease an additional 45 acres from neighboring farms. Major crops include standard row crops like corn and soy beans, but also vegetables such as collards, cabbage, sweet corn, squash, and okra.\n\nJay is the third generation to work this family farm. He realized he was taking on more responsibility for the farm’s future just as agriculture as he knew it had reached an economic crossroads. “I couldn’t make enough money selling to the auction, so I started looking at ways to make the farm more profitable,” he explains. After examining his production costs, Jay decided pastured pork would be a good way to diversify their operation, and for his extended family to make a living, too. The Dixons now have 10 sows and 1 boar, which supply plenty of pigs to their growing local market. They raise a mix of Yorkshire, Hampshire, and Duroc breeds, carefully chosen for their unique qualities. “Yorkshires have good mothering abilities compared to the other standard breeds,” Jay explains. “I think the Hampshire has a good meat quality, even though the industry leans toward a fattier pig. And Duroc makes a good terminal boar and they grow real fast. They also do better on pasture than any other breed I know.”\n\nJay says the new venture is going well: “The main benefit that I like about raising hogs outdoors is from the environmental side. We don’t have the emissions and the smell that people associate with conventional hog production. My neighbors don’t complain. It is a whole lot more environmentally friendly and I know my animals are much happier. So far, so good.” The Dixon’s long term goal is to direct market everything they produce, increasing their hog herd to 50 sows, farrow to finish.\n\nThe Dixons are also searching for ways to make good food more accessible. “Greene County is a poor county,” Jay explains. “Ninety percent of the population is probably right at the poverty line. It’s a small part of the market that can afford the high end stuff, which I think our pork is. It is very high quality. One of the things that we tried to do to reach lower income people was to start processing Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) food stamps. There are some hoops you have to jump through, but it’s really not that difficult.”\n\nAs Jay explains, one of their biggest challenges is communicating to people who are shopping strictly by price why Dixon Family Farm products are special–and worth paying for: “That’s why I wanted to get involved with AWA. I want people to know that we care about what we’re doing. When they see the AWA logo on our website and on our barn, they know, ‘These people understand what they’re doing, and they care about what they’re doing.’”\n\nDixon Family Farms’ Animal Welfare Approved pork is available directly from the farm seven days a week, and at their farm stand from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday–Saturday. For more information, visit AWA’s online directory or http://www.dixonfamilyfarms.com/.