r family farms
15061 DD Road
Lebanon, KS 66952
Located just 4 miles from the Geographic Center of the Contiguous United States, R Family Farms is a niche market hog farm that combines old style outdoor reared production practices with modern day technology to bring a superior quality pork to market. Although R Family Farms was not formally established until 2015, Kaden and Emily’s passion towards agriculture and their pig farm flourishes from their rich family histories, that when combined, supply more than two centuries worth of care and stewardship for the land and animals. Today, R Family Farms’ vision is seeded with the desire to educate consumers about where their food comes from, and at the same time, offer a culinary experience often only reserved for world class dining experiences.
Growing up, Emily's love of agriculture blossomed from watching her third generation farming family care for the land. Raised in south east Kansas on a wheat, corn and soybean farm, Emily had every intention of continuing the legacy of her family’s operation. Through high school she utilized FFA and a very talented ag instructor as building blocks to place her closer to her dream. Even after graduation, she maneuvered the local community college within her “small” town as a means to spend an extra year learning about land stewardship and conservation alongside her father.
It wasn’t until Kaden nudged himself into the picture that Emily’s path in life would see a slight bend and land her on a pig farm in north central Kansas. Although pigs were not her first love (or second, for that matter,), she quickly grew to love them and joyfully welcomed them as a part of her future.
Emily finished her education at Kansas State University with a Bachelors of Science in Agronomy. This extremely science based degree helps her better understand the relationship between crops and the soil and how to leave the land better for the next generation. As so, Emily calls all the shots when it comes their cropping plans and growing the grain that feeds their pigs! Beyond her agronomic duties, Emily plays host to a plethora of job titles for R Family Farms starting with head Pig keeper, Dietitian, Pediatrician, and Midwife. She also takes care of a lot of the "behind the scenes" work including inventory, local deliveries, and marketing.
Kaden’s story is much more entwined with the history of pigs on the Roush’s Farm and as so, is much easier told in conjunction. With agricultural roots cultivated five generations deep there is no question what fuels Kaden’s passion for farming. Reared on a crop and livestock farm a few miles outside of Lebanon, KS, and being the youngest of four, Kaden was quickly exposed to the rough and tumble life of a farm kid.
Unlike his wife, Kaden used bumps, bruises and broken fences as stepping stones towards his similar dream of sustaining the family farm. Although hogs had been a mainstay in the family’s operation for several decades, it wasn’t until the turn of the century that Kaden got his first dose of responsibility with them. The late 90's witnessed the worst hog market crash of all time and with it, the demise of the small scale pork producer, which included the Roush family’s small herd. However, out of the ashes sprang an opportunity for an energetic little boy, a few sows and a 4-H project. In partnership with his brother, it started as raising a few pigs to exhibit at the county fair. As the project grew it quickly molded into selling excess pigs to fellow 4-H’ers, also for exhibition and would stay that course until high school.
With the brother leaving for higher education, and the partnership deteriorated, Kaden was left with a choice of continuing the project or stepping away. It was in that transition phase that the concept of “niche” markets and Berkshire pork first got introduced, which eventually laid the groundwork for what is now known as R Family Farms.
Skills in livestock evaluation and selection opened the door for Kaden to compete at the college level, first at Allen Community College (Emily’s home town) and later at Kansas State University. Touring the country with the two collegiate judging teams gave Kaden the opportunity to observe and appreciate the unique diversity in agriculture across the U.S. and also recognize, there is no single way to farm. Being successful in agriculture is not about following fads and jumping on band wagons, it is about finding a system that your passionate about and makes since, then exploiting it for every opportunity.
With a bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness, a minor in Animal Science and a partner in crime (Emily,) Kaden settled his way back to Lebanon. Armed with determination, together Kaden and Emily set out to develop the family’s new pig venture. Ground broke on the six acre plot in August of 2015 with the first pigs arriving in January of 2016, though construction would continue through that summer with the family performing nearly all the work. Today, R Family Farms is home to 75 sows that farrow all year long and the resulting litters are cared for until market weight.