The Tripp brothers—Ryan of Dows and Brent of Eldora, in Hardin County—have been contract growers for Christensen Farms since 2009. They are third-generation pig farmers with three 5,000-head wean-to-finish farms near Dows. Most of their pigs go to Triumph Foods in St. Joseph, Mo.
Tripp Farms started in 1931 with a 70-head farrow-to-finish operation to complement their row crop farming. But after a health challenge in the sow herd, the family retired the wooden-floor farrowing barn and left the pork industry. Ryan returned in 1997 after earning a degree in agriculture studies from Iowa State University (ISU). Seven years later, Tri-B Farms, LLC was established with the construction of a 5,000-head wean-to-finish barn. The family raised pigs for Perfect Pig in North Carolina, and the additional income allowed Ryan to stay on the farm and work alongside his father, Marlyn. A short year later, Tri-B added a second farm with a double-wide, 2,500-head wean-to-finish barn.
In 2010, Brent came back after graduating from ISU and working in feed sales for several organizations, including Farmland Industries, Land O’Lakes, United Suppliers, Cargill’s Porkworks team, and as a swine specialist for Central Valley Ag Cooperative in Nebraska. Tri-B expanded again in 2011, adding a third 5,000-head wean-to-finish farm to generate income to support a growing family. In 2014, the Tripps constructed an additional 2,500-head barn on Tri-B’s second farm.
Today, Brent manages the pork production, and Ryan handles 2,000 acres of row crops. Together, they have three employees. Another brother, Matthew, supports and manages the farm’s finances from his home in Kansas City, Mo., and oversees investments like the 2014 installation of solar panels on Tri-B’s second farm. The solar units offset roughly 67% of the annual utility costs.
The Tripps invest in their communities. Brent serves on Christensen Farms Grower Counsel, helping identify opportunities to improve production. He is school board president of Timothy Christian in Wellsburg; active on many committees supporting students; and a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Eldora, where he serves as an usher and works with the church’s trust. Ryan is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Hampton.
Brent and his wife, Brandy, have three children: Hannah (20), Garrison (16) and Marshall (9).