Heimerl Farms: Some history

JOHNSTOWN, Ohio — It’s taken a few years for Heimerl Farms to get where it is today. The farm was started about 1950 when Don and Marjorie Heimerl began raising beef cattle as a second job to his construction business.

The elder Heimerls raised about 60 head of purebred Herefords. Their son, Jim, took livestock projects for FFA in the early 1970s and by 1977 he was working full-time on the farm.

Jim and his wife, Kathy, took over the operation and continued expanding each year, making sure there was enough business for themselves, and their children.

“The boys came along and I just wanted to give them an opportunity to farm if they wanted to,” Jim said. If they wanted to have an opportunity, I wanted to make sure there was an opportunity here.”

When Jim and his wife took over, the farm consisted of 300 acres of cropland and 200 head of feeder cattle.

Today the family owns 600 acres, and additional ground is rented to total about 2,500 acres.

Start of swine

Hogs were introduced into the operation in 1992, when Jim leased a facility in Fairfield County and began with a 225-head farrow-to-finish operation. A finishing barn was built on the home farm in Johnstown, which housed 1,200 finishing hogs and a 1,200 head nursery.

In 1994, the leased sow facility in Fairfield County was expanded to 400 head. In 1996, Heimerl Farms purchased their first farrowing facility in Pleasantville, which housed 350 head located in Fairfield County.

This unit was expanded in 1997 to 600 head. A 3,600 head nursery also was added to house animals that came from the facility. Contract finisher barns were built in the area to house the growing amount of animals produced within the facilities.

Growing along

In 1999, a new unit was built in Brown County, called Eagle Creek Swine, which was finished in 2000 and houses 2,400 head of sows. Additional contract barns were built in central and southern Ohio to facilitate these operations.

The newest renovation took place in 2002, when the nursery at Pleasantville was converted to a farrowing barn, and the entire facility was completely remodeled and repopulated, and a new gestation barn was added.

Another multiplying unit was added in 2004 called Mad River Swine which is very similar to the other multiplier units. All units are currently multiplying gilts for PIC. Currently the operation has 10,000 sows between 3 Sow units, all of which are multipliers for a genetics company.

There are approximately 350,000 hogs sold annually.

About the Author

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties. More Stories by Chris Kick

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