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  • Real Pork Trust Consortium

Coble Creates Collaboration with North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission

Dr. Derrick Coble, RPTC Research and Training Co-Lead, was integral in bringing the Real Pork Trust Consortium (RPTC) and the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission together to support tobacco farmers as they transition to swine production systems. "From Bright Leaf to Berkshires" is an outreach program that was developed from a North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission grant awarded to Dr. Coble who is now using his connections with the RPTC to strengthen the program and provide valuable insights back to Consortium.


Farmers standing in a row in a field
From Bright Lead to Berkshire participants

The program is designed to train tobacco farmers and the descendants of tobacco farmers in low-cost, alternative swine production systems using Berkshire pigs and hoop structures. The ultimate goal of the program is to equip these farmers with the skills that are required for retained ownership and direct marketing of their premium pork and pork by-products. The program provides farmers throughout the “Tobacco Belt” who have been financially impacted by the policy and social changes associated with tobacco production and consumption with a way to pivot to a more sustainable agricultural commodity.


The “Swine School” consists of 6 weekends in which workshops are facilitated by Dr. Coble and colleagues from the North Carolina Pork Council, N.C. Choices, N.C. Cooperative Extension, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and swine producers who employ alternative swine production systems. At the end of the program, the graduates are provided with hoop structures to begin their swine operations. They are monitored for 2 years to provide assistance, track their operations, and assess the economic impact of the program on the rural communities of the graduates. Check back for more details on how the RPTC is supporting this important initiative.

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