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Breeder Spotlight

Walser Farms & Hot Rod Genetics The Rodney Walser Family

Located south of Canadian, Texas is a show pig operation that is backed with five generations of pork producers. Rodney Walser was born into the swine industry and for many years has made it his livelihood. Rodney, along with his wife Tamara and their daughters Kayln, Kilie and Adison currently run a 125 head sow herd, consisting of mostly Duroc females, but also have Hampshire, Yorkshire and Crossbred females. Walser Farms/Hot Rod Genetics have two farrowing seasons, the first lasting from January until early April, and the second spanning from late August through October, providing quality show pigs for their daughters, as well as numerous other exhibitors. In conjunction with their sows, the Walser Family has a boar stud consisting of approximately 10 Hampshire, Duroc, Yorkshire and Crossbred boars. Rodney’s passion for show hogs was ignited at an early age. Rodney showed his first hog when he was four years old, and continued to show hogs competitively through high school. Rodney’s father, Weldon, began raising Durocs in 1969 and enlisted the help of his children in deciding complimentary genetic matches and farrowing out their sows. With the guidance of his father, Rodney started his own sow herd at the young age of 10. The foundation of Rodney’s sow herd included around 10 Hampshire and Crossbred females. Rodney fondly remembers the start of his independent show pig operation. “My dad helped me get started by picking me up a Hamp gilt raised by the Lancaster family,” Rodney said. “My dad and older brother Mike have influenced me the most.” Walser went on to attend Clarendon College, where he was a member of the livestock judging team. Following college Rodney realized that it was his true desire to return to the family farm and continue raising show pigs. The Walser Family has experienced show ring success since the early years of their establishment and take great pride in the fact that they only show livestock born and raised on their farm. What quickly comes to mind when asked is exhibiting the Champion Duroc Barrow at the 1989 Houston Livestock Show and selling what was a record selling pig at the 1995 Pampa Pig Sale, which sold for $7,000.

The many achievements have carried over for Rodney and Tamara’s daughters, who have been competitive at all the major stock shows in Texas. In 2011, when Kilie was just nine years old she exhibited the Champion Duroc Barrow at Fort Worth. Their oldest daughter, Kayln, showed a blue belted barrow that won Grand Champion honors at the State Fair of Texas in 2009. Rodney said that one of his proudest moments came this past year when Kayln drove Champion Hampshire at the 2014 Houston Barrow Show. It was such a special moment for the family, because it was her last show before graduating high school and going on to play volleyball this year in college. The lasting success of Walser Farms/Hot Rod Genetics is a direct result of them building their operation on a few strong principles. Besides hard work and dedication, when talking about the actually traits of hogs, Rodney says that structure and balance are very important for them in their breeding program. “It’s hard to single trait hogs and continue to raise consistent, good ones,” said Rodney. “You might get beat by an extreme one, but you will be in the hunt and be able to sell show pigs if you stay true to it.” Anyone can look back through the history of the show pig industry and see that extreme trends have been in abundance. As various trends run their course, Rodney stands by

one constant philosophy. “Start with good females,” explained Rodney. “We don’t sell many gilts, because we always keep the best gilts out of every farrowing to ensure that we continue to raise show pigs that can compete.” Rodney notes that the show pig industry is continuously in transition, and credits the drive that keeps the industry progressing to this constant change. He says that trying to guess the direction and staying genetically a step ahead of the competition is what separates the good breeders from everyone else. Rodney also admits to being very critical when evaluating livestock, saying there is always something that needs to be changed in an animal. “A good hog today won’t be as good five years from now,” explained Rodney. The Walser Family has been in the show pig business for decades, and they have no plans of slowing down. Their second daughter Kilie is in the eighth grade and Adison will begin showing barrows in the 2016 show season, making it Rodney’s goal to keep pumping out good pigs for many years to come. “As long as I continue to raise pigs, I would like to stay at the top of my game,” said Rodney. “It’s hard to do. It seems like everyone rides the roller coaster of ups and downs, in this very competitive industry.” Rodney’s dedication to raising show hogs is a testament to his passion for agriculture and the people who make up this community. He says that it’s

the exceptional character of the youth who are raised in agriculture that motivate him to continue to raise hogs. “I’m a firm believer that the life skills and experiences that kids learn from showing livestock are unmatched by any other program.” Walser recognizes that starting a show pig operation requires a great deal of work, but that kids just need to start with the best hog they can and build on that. Show pigs are just one of this family’s passions. Rodney and his brother, Mike, are also competitive desert racers. They race a Trophy Truck in the Best in the Desert Racing Association. Within this organization, they travel to Nevada, Arizona and California to compete in six off-road races. The family also races in the Baja 1000 in Mexico. Their racing successes include winning the point championship in their open wheel unlimited car. Rodney is very thankful for the help of his family and employees, allowing him to have time to race, hunt, fish and ski. Walser Farms/Hot Rod Genetics are longtime members and supporters of the Texas Pork Producers Association. In 2014, the TPPA Board of Directors honored the operation for its 50 plus year commitment to the swine industry, by presenting the family with the prestigious Heritage award. The Walser’s continue to show their support by donating the Foundation Gilt, to be presented at the 2015 Texas Stars Gilt Show in San Angelo.

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