The Burlington’s Profitable Pork Special

Nebraska railroads were much concerned with developing an adequate economy in the areas they served. The Burlington, for example, had a long history of caring for the welfare of its farm customers and sponsored a number of livestock, poultry, and dairy trains in the 1920s to teach farmers modern agricultural methods. In 1929 it sponsored a Profitable Pork Special that sought to encourage the Nebraska pork industry. Newspaperman Will M. Maupin, who traveled with the train and reported its progress and success, noted October 10, 1929, in the Hastings Democrat:

“Not more hogs, but more profit in hogs is the basic idea behind the ‘Profitable Pork Production’ special that the Burlington has been sending out over its Nebraska lines during the last two weeks, and which will continue for another 10 days. . . . The special consists of a baggage car, six exhibit cars, a sleeper and a diner-club car. The baggage car contains the feed for the hogs carried for exhibit purposes and for the tons of literature to be distributed.”

Maupin noted that the most interesting and informative exhibit on the train was on the third car, “an open flat car. There one sees a sanitary hog lot containing big, healthy pigs that have been kept on clean ground and provided with plenty of fresh, clean water. Next to it is a typical old hog lot, full of old bones, decaying cobs, filthy watering troughs and a mud wallow. The pigs therein were kept in just such a lot. The pigs in the clean lot and those in the unsanitary lot are the same age, and were fed exactly the same rations. But the pigs in the sanitary lot outweigh the others two to one. No more striking demonstration of the value of hog lot sanitation could be given, nor better explained by pages of pamphleteering.

“The other open car carries a properly constructed A-type hog house, a self feeder and a tank wagon. . . . One coach is devoted to showing feeds and methods of feeding. The last exhibit coach shows a comparison between three types of hogs, explaining why a certain type is the most profitable. . . . A correspondent of the Democrat has been privileged to travel with the special for several days. Three demonstrations a day are given and so far the average daily attendance has been upwards of 4,500, most of them farmers and farm families.

“Not more hogs, but more profit in hogs! The Burlington officials want that idea emphasized! ‘The same number of hogs but more profit in each hog marketed.’ If it takes five carloads of feed to produce a given tonnage of pork, and an equal tonnage can be produced with four carloads of feed, the farmer will profit to the extent of that carload, and the Burlington will profit from the revenue derived from hauling that same carload to market.”

This pig production exhibit was installed in the first coach of the Profitable Pork Special, October 2-25, 1929. NSHS RG1431.PH:3175

diseas takes 1 in 4

Disease exhibit installed in the first coach. NSHS RG1431.PH:3171


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