Trustee Spotlight: Doug & Cathy Dawson. Meet this year’s Benefit in the Barn hosts

Doug and his wife, Cathy, have a hog and grain farm in Delaware County. Doug’s grandmother and father started the farm with only a hundred acres and a gilt that laid 20 piglets. Cathy grew up on a dairy farm and helped her family for years. The two of them met in college and have been together for 37 years and have three children Dani, Audrey, and Neal.

Doug and Cathy have expanded the farm since then, and now have 1,400 head of hogs and sell 40,000 hogs a year and farm about 3,000 acres. Doug says “I give a lot of credit to our employees, it’s not just the two of us farming 3,000 acres and are able to sell 40,000 head of hogs a year.” “This is all I’ve ever wanted to do since I was 5 years old.” Cathy said she was the same way, she always knew farming was what she wanted to do with her life.

Doug and Cathy are excited to be hosting this year’s Benefit in the Barn because they feel it is important to raise awareness about food insecurity in Delaware County. Doug says, “We are very privileged to have safe and affordable food in our country.”

Benefit in the barn allows guests who do not have an agricultural background to visit a modern, farming operation and see first-hand the work ethic, devotion, and attention to detail a farmer gives when producing our food.

Doug enjoys what he does because of the miracles he witnesses. From seeing his sows giving birth to experiencing a crop of corn. Farming allows him to witness all of these miracles and the progress that has been made in the industry over the years. Doug says, “I am very blessed to have a wife and kids that understand this way of life.”

One concern that Doug has for the pork industry is consolidation. The industry is already consolidated as it is now, butin 20 years some of the major meat packagers decide they only want hogs from certain farmers, producers could be hurt badly. However, Doug does foresee this happening due to potential international trading opportunities. He is very optimistic about the pork industry. If other countries were to pick up the benefits of what a great protein pork is, it could go a long way. “Pork is a great product,” said Doug.

In fact, he and Cathy’s favorite pork dish is roasted pork. In their spare time, they enjoy roasting hogs for community events, weddings and other parties. They said it’s just something fun they both enjoy doing and love meeting the new people along the way.

Delaware County Farm Bureau is grateful to have Doug & Cathy as volunteers. Their knowledge and passion for the industry does not go unnoticed. Thank you for all that you both do for the county.