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The Block - It's more than a show pig

Danner Livestock is fueled by faith and a commitment to help others achieve their goals.

What began in 2017 with ten sale pens and a way to market their livestock, while serving the youth in the industry, has blossomed into thirty pens and a way of life for the Danners. “We are big supporters of what the junior livestock industry can do for kids in their present and future,” Danners said. Located in Chalmers, IN, the operation is run by a team of four: Chris, Susan, Blake and, soon to be, Mallory Danner. The emphasis of everything they do is their customers and their success. “Our goal since day one still remains the same… we want to see families united, and families reach their goals together,” Danners said.

While the value of their program is in the experience they provide for families, they are also proud of the genetic program they have built. “We are very much focused on the junior segment of our industry, but also have a focus to make genetics that other breeders can purchase to impact their program as well. It goes hand and hand, whether we sell a bred gilt or sow or a show pig it is typically benefiting the junior kids.” The operation has all breeds except Tamworths and Landraces. Their main focus is Hampshires, Durocs and Crossbreds.

The best of teams utilize each person’s individual strengths, and, at Danner Livestock, this is no different. Each with their unique skill set, they balance one another well. Chris is the head chief. He manages the day-to-day activities and is the fixer-of-all-things. While Blake runs the day-to-day with Chris, he also leads the show team, manages sales and serves the customer base. Working alongside Chris and the show team is Mallory, who does the marketing and event planning. Last, but most certainly not least, is Susan. Susan runs the office, which entails much more than sitting behind a desk. She keeps the bills paid, collects money, solves last minute paper requests and much more. If you can name it, she likely does it. Their weekly communication about travel, scheduling, special projects and decisions on the farm ensures that everyone is up to date.


With 125 head of sows and keeper gilts, the Danner’s day is quickly filled. After waking up, Chris and Blake begin their day with a walk-through of all the buildings on the farm. This allows them to carefully monitor herd health, which is a priority on their operation. Consistent biosecurity practices keep their herd healthy. Each animal is isolated before coming to the main farm.

Chris’s long-time mantra is, “if you take care of your herd, they will take care of you,” and he lives it daily. Shortly after their walkthrough, they begin the daily tasks of maintaining their herd: sows and boars are fed, barns are cleaned and, depending on the season, tasks of breeding, farrowing, weaning and selling pigs are completed.

Customer success is vital to the Danner’s operation, and they work to provide exemplary customer service. The first question they ask families when working with them is, “What is your goal?” The ability to reach kids’ and families’ goals is important to them. “We aren’t successful if our customers aren’t successful,” Danners said.

Their aspirations to grow are many, but do not stray from their original intention: serving their customers by providing an experience. They have accomplished this by adding a viewing area to their show barn which allows families to enjoy time together while viewing and purchasing pigs. The other critical portion of their customer experience is the show team. While they recognize that not every kid can win the show, they work to create opportunities for the kids in and out of the show ring. These experiences include hosting camps, providing networking opportunities and celebrating via an end-of-year party. They take pride in the network they have built for the kids, so, when their time in the ring is done, they will have a support system to take with them as they tackle the next chapter of their life.

Looking to the future, there is an emphasis on the kids and customers. “Everyone has a multi-million-dollar wish list and we certainly do as well,” Danners joked. Continued building expansion to increase efficiency is crucial. The addition of a gilt grower and an overflow show barn have been welcome additions in the last year.

At Danner Livestock they have three accomplishments that they deem their biggest. First, being afforded the opportunity from our Savior to serve his earthly mission. Second, being able to reach the goals of their customers and the kids they serve daily. Third, raising the Grand Barrow at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Every person is the culmination of those they have met and received mentorship from. Chris and Susan were heavily influenced by Jack Rodibaugh, because he paved his own way. Blake and Mallory have placed value in Jim Rodibaugh for his genuineness. “He’s a Christian, a father and a great hog man. Every time we go see Jim you certainly leave with your cup full and the smell of the ‘new barn’ only lasts a short time.” Another person who influenced the Danners is Ben Bobell. “Ben has been a great mentor to both of us. We appreciate his talent in the industry, but more importantly the Christian and family man he is and the character he upholds and expects from others.”

Blake’s greatest advice is, “Keep your head down and hustle. There is a lot of noise out there, and this industry can make you question your ‘why.’ Stay true to who you are and always do your best.”



Perry, Georgia


Stoller, a sow on the farm


Picturing baby pigs or cleaning the farrowing house


Running sale pigs out in the viewing room and discussing them as a family


From Blakes perspective, Karl Peter. From Chris perspective Chuck Real.


“The unrealistic expectation from people. When trying to be progressive and raising competitive show pigs, it without a doubt can be difficult to go to a show and the expectation in the showring of what animals are to look like is strictly that person’s opinion on that day. It leads to so many other challenges—specifically with customer expectation and keeping kids motivated to keep working with their project when the result in the ring isn’t what they desired.”


“When it all comes together. Adversity happens and when it does and the plan works it can be very rewarding.”

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