History of Total Control Swine Systems
It’s been said that the story behind the story is the most interesting part!
The story behind Total Control Swine Systems is definitely remarkable. It is complete with tragedy and triumph and would be a good movie plot. But for now let’s take a look at the where this amazing invention came from and why.
My name is Ron Farrell. In the 1960s and 70’s I owned a small cattle operation along with being a co-operator of the family ranch of about 3,000, owned and leased with acres, with my brother and father two miles north of Raymondville, Missouri, in south central Missouri. I also owned a livestock feed milling operation and a chemical fertilizer blend plant in the town of Raymondville. Because I owned the feed milling operation and having some experience with hogs on our ranch, I decided to feed out some hogs on my 200 acre farm where I lived. Little did I know the disaster that what was about to happen would eventually spawn a whole new science in controlling the environment for all sorts of animals which would become known as Total Control Swine Systems. That was in 1977 I believe what happened 40 years later in 2017 is a clear example of God’s desire for His people to prosper and to restore anything and everything His enemy has stolen.
Going back to 1977 or even a couple of years prior, I inquired of the University of Kansas and also to the University of Missouri for their recommendations for a facility. We chose the Missouri “open front” feeding floor with outside round feeders. Watering was also automatic. We purchased the pigs at the Tele-Auction in West Plains, Missouri. One thousand pigs weighing about 40 pounds each were delivered to my brand new feed-out floor. From there the story goes downhill.
Soon we had sick hogs everywhere! But, because of my feed milling plant, we had access to any and every antibiotic. Familiar with taking care of 3,000 feeder cattle each year that came in sick and required expert care in order to live, I was quick with the best nutrition and antibiotics. Veterinarian bills and burying dead hogs seemed to be characteristic of the open front system. We lost 200 head by the time they were ready to ship. They were old enough to go to school by the time they were ready for the trucks! I never bothered calculating feed conversion because all I wanted to do was get rid of them and that open front system! My thought was, if the agriculture universities could not recommend anything better than that then I would design something that would work. We did. It is Total Control Swine Systems! But before we go into detail about the invention itself, I invite you to venture back with us on this page to see where this system came from.
After the tragedy with my own operation I traveled extensively in the area looking at all sorts of ways and means of raising hogs. A couple of things struck me that I felt was important. I noticed that hogs running outside within fenced areas were healthy. Not much money had been spent on equipment and facilities. These producers were making money especially in a good market. I also noticed these producers floated with the market, out of business on down markets and in a operation with a good market. It was obvious that they needed to do that because of poor feed conversion and litter sizes were small for of all sorts of reasons.
It looked to me that confining the hog was a good idea to control the hog but clearly there had to be a better way than what I had done.
Because of my feed production company we developed our own brand of feeds including a great hog feed line. After my confinement experience I marketed my feed products to many local producers with every conceivable means of raising hogs. My visits with producers in confinement systems indicated that health suffered and feed conversion was still questionable at best depending on who you talked to. I found that many of the producers didn’t know what their feed conversion rates were because their entire operation was all lumped together. They just waited to the end of the year to see if they made any money. I found that what they called confinement was just that... confinement! I saw it as HOG JAIL without bail! In a bad market that kind of system could also put the producer in the “poor house.” The hogs were being controlled but the profits were not being controlled!
During my research I spoke with many producers that were second and third generation hog producers who depended on a good market to make money. Many times even those pros who had confinement systems found themselves in trouble if the market was down at the same time they were experiencing high death loss and/or poor feed conversion, etc. None of that appealed to me. I knew that I did not want to build a “confinement” system just for the sake of “controlling” the hogs! I wanted to design a system that “controlled” the environment the hogs lived in so the hogs could thrive and the producer could be guaranteed success commensurate with his ability. Again, Total Control Swine Systems was the result. I found out later that what we invented would be considered the Holy Grail that every producer has been searching for!
What is that “treasure” that has been hidden until now? The answer is that TCSS "controls profitability” by means of a facility built for the benefit of the hog! Seems simple, doesn’t it?
Before TCSS and the subsequent 40 years since we developed the new science that focused on “benefiting the hog,” buildings were and still are, being constructed based on least cost to confine the animal. The after that their assumption is that the resulting animal health related issues are due to some strange disease that has been “tracked into” the facility!
Let’s use a little common sense to see if there could be another reason. Consider the producer who's animals are completely outside within a fenced in area. There is no concern about birds carrying a disease. He walks through the area and all over his farm, to town and back, without concern of bringing in diseases. You rarely saw what they call “outbreaks” of anything until producers begin confining the hog in what I call an “uncontrolled” environment. Confining and controlling is an oxymoron. In my opinion those two words words don't belong in the same sentence unless the structure is a TCSS.
Even over the last 40 years the name of the game “still” seems to be “confining” the hog for the
“convenience” of the producer. I have always contended that we need to be more concerned about controlling the “profits” of the producer otherwise what is the point of being in the business? It is an erroneous conclusion to think all we need to do is “confine” the hog when we really need to “control” the living space for the benefit of the hog! The primary emphasis of that control should be to maximize the comfort of the hog. The result is minimized stresses. Minimal stress means minimal health related issues as the God-given “immune system” of the hog will maintain optimum health. Think about it this way, how would you like to spend 24 hours per day in a wet, nasty, bacteria ridden, and virus prevalent eating -drinking-sleeping area? How would your lungs and your immune system handle methane gasses 24 hours per day? How would we like it that the only decent environment we had all of our lives was a few hours in the truck on the way to slaughter?
The bottom line, other than the truck ride, TCSS takes care of all issues. This allows the producer and his bankers peace-of-mind. Year after year they can depend on controlled profits because controlling the profits is TCSS and primary motive rather than just confining the hog!
What happened after the development of Total Control Swine Systems? For the answer to that question let’s take a look at the two years in between the “open front tragedy” and the first use of the Total Control Swine System operating on a profitable basis.
After my experience with my own hog operation I saw the need for more profitable and easier production methods for many areas of agriculture, I developed Automated Farm Systems in Springfield, Missouri. simultaneously with the development of other products, we spent two years trying to get the first TCSS structure on the market. I found much resistance from the universities and banks. Producers ran into many roadblocks when trying to get “permission” to use a TCSS. During that two year period, we were able to do some interesting things in irrigation, poultry, and grain operations out of our offices and main facility at the corner of Division Street and National Avenue in Springfield, Missouri.
The first TCSS was built around 1977 in Carthage, Missouri. The producer found himself at odds with the advice of his University Extension Agent, his banker and his accountant. He said that everybody told him that it was too much money and it would be impossible to make it pay! From my prospective they were still stuck in the mode of least-cost-per-head. They just could not seem to get their thoughts around least-cost-per-pound-of-gain!
I often found myself cross ways with more than one "expert" after another when I would contend that "producer profits" should be the primary objective and they were quick to tell me that LOWEST cost of facility was the answer to producer profits! I could see that they were doing all they knew and the facility was the big ticket item right in their face! But, the issue was they did now know enough and as a company we were proposing they open their minds to a new science, TCSS.
But after we paid the price of enduring the frustration of two years before we sold the first building we found ourselves trying to fill the demand. Twenty-seven structures resulted with several still in operation after 40 years! A remarkable feat to say the least.
What happened to TCSS? Why are we not still building the TCSS today? After the very first structure was in place the nation went into the grip of nearly twenty percent interest causing all sorts of agriculture restructuring. As a company, Automated Farm System became a statistic during that period. As the owner and president of the company we put the TCSS technology on the shelf along with several other proprietary products developed during that period. By the time the 18% interest HIT the industry, producers had committed to over 2.5 million dollars of TCSS but could not fulfil their contracts for lack of funding! The overall affect of the economic climate of the times and the knee jerk reactions by lending institutions took our company down with it. We owned all marketing rights to our products so we reluctantly put TCSS on HOLD but thank God the technology of TCSS is about to be resurrected.
Since then we became an integral part of Invention Discovery Center which is an organization designed specifically for the purpose of bringing quality employment and quality lifestyles back to America. That means IDC has the ability to create employment “at will” in any community in America. This is a huge undertaking of which we have spent over 20 years in development. It is many times greater than any single product that I have ever developed. It is even greater than the totality of a hundred products that I know of. Because of the value of Invention Discovery Center to actually produce the next industrial revolution, I have “invested” the TCSS technologies and 19 other proprietary products into IDC. Even though I cannot disclose the amount I can say that in exchange for equity in IDC and royalties for each of the 19 products to be commercialized, IDC has become my primary focus.
Because of the IDC system being launched in 2017 the TCSS technologies is now being made available for production anywhere in America. The first manufacturer that steps up to the plate confirming his ability to produce maximum employment will be given controlling interest. That means we are actively seeking a CEO or manufacturer to head up the production of this product line. Contact Invention Discovery Center.
RECAP the core thought process behind Total Control Swine Systems.
I could see how confinement of the hog succeeded in "incarcerating" the hog for the convenience of the producer but there seemed to be no thought for the "wellbeing" of the hog! I don't mean that from some tree hugger point of view, what I am saying is the "incarcerating" systems take away the hog's ability to do well like he would do in nature, so how could we expect him to be well in the cage?
I am not condemning anyone because before I had the experience with my own hogs I was guilty of thinking the same way. But out of desperation to find the answer and my investigation of many other producers it became very clear that as an industry all we did was remove the hog from his natural “healthy” environment. Then by putting the hog in our conventional man made environment we created “confinement” issues, which we promptly treated as health issues! No, they were not health issues they were confinement issues! I simply began addressing the cause rather than the symptoms and the result was Total Control Swine Systems.
Today date is Feb 11-2017 This page is being developed at this time and more will be written on this page along with many pictures this week. Come back often.