Twenty-four-year-old pig farmer Giovanni Morris dreams of establishing his own state-of-the-art-facility, which will integrate technology in the animal-rearing process.
Currently, the Portland resident shares a farm in Boston Bay with mentor and business partner Seymour Duncan, which he says, needs improvement.
“Whenever I reach a level where I can acquire the [farm] that I want, I want it to be completely indoors where I’ll be able to keep my animals cool, have proper waste management, proper air exchange management, and so forth. Hopefully, in the future, I can put that down,” he tells JIS News.
Mr. Morris, who studies Construction Management at the University of Technology (UTech), says he intends to use the knowledge and skills gained from his studies to assist in the expansion and upgrade of the space he currently occupies, until he can establish the modern facility he desires.
“We are planning to expand the facility that we’re using [because] it’s been there before I was born… but we try to take care of it as best as possible,” he notes.
The young entrepreneur, who started farming less than two years ago, says he decided to focus on pig rearing to tap into the high demand for jerk pork in Boston Bay.
He and his business partner also manufacture and sell jerk seasoning.
Mr. Morris tells JIS News that there have been many challenges along the way, noting that proper waste management is the hardest part of his job.
He says he must ensure that the “waste doesn’t become a nuisance to anybody, whether it is the smell or the spread of bacteria”.
“[Pig-rearing is] a very delicate situation [and] we want to be able to produce the best product possible without disturbing the environment,” he points out.
He adds that even though he lives in a farming community, “every farmer should be conscious and know that if they are going to farm it will affect [others]”.
Proper access to water supply is also critical, Mr. Morris says, noting that infrastructure work being done in the parish is expected to improve access to the commodity.
Mr. Morris, who was involved in party promotion befofre getting into farming, says he had to pivot due to the downturn in the staging of events consequent on COVID-19.
“My friends and I were promoters [and] we were focused on keeping our annual event. Unfortunately, when the pandemic hit, we had to put that aside,” he notes.
“So, I decided that I wanted to try something new, and that’s where I said, ‘I’m going to start raising some animals, seeing that I’m an animal lover,” he notes.
He says that his friend, Everton Dennis, who is a student at the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) in Portland, walked him through the processes involved in operating a farm before he purchased his first animal.
“He basically gave me a rundown of everything, and he said I should go ahead and try,” Mr. Morris tells JIS News.
With the mentoring support from Mr. Duncan, who offered to share his farm, he learned the practicalities of animal rearing.
“Every morning, Seymour would call me at 6:00. a.m. to go to the pen. He walked me through the whole process for about two months… and I had to get used to the animals,” he points out.
Mr. Morris tells JIS News that due to the demand of his studies and the farm-upgrade plans, he has reduced the number of pigs to five, but should be back in full production in January.
He says that the farming experience has been rewarding, so far, and has changed his outlook on life as well as enhanced his belief in the importance of agriculture.
“I appreciate every type of farming because I think, going forward, we should be looking into growing what we eat and producing our own food. It can only be better for us,” he says.
Mr. Morris knows that his dream of a modern, technology-driven facility will not come overnight, but until that improvement comes, he says he remains committed to “doing it the hard way”.
“Doing it the hard way [helps me to] appreciate the basics. So, when technology comes in, it’ll be much easier for me to integrate and to be able to produce more while doing less… and that’s the dream,” he says.