The origins of Eichelberger Farms can be traced back to 1966. At the age of 16, Dave Eichelberger purchased 4 pregnant sows from the Wayland Sale Barn, which was managed by his father. He farrowed them out, raised the piglets, and eventually sold them as feeder pigs along with the sows. He tried his hand again at raising pigs four years later. This time he purchased 11 pregnant gilts from the sales barn, as well as a pull-together shed to farrow them in. This time did not go as well as the first. He lost all but one of the piglets, and even lost one of the gilts. He bred and sold the sows, sold the pull-together, and decided raising pigs was not for him.
In 1970, Dave was working for his father, who owned the Waco Hog Buying Station near Olds, Iowa. While picking up some pigs from a local farmer, Dave asked him if he would be interested in buying the farm next to him which was for sale, and selling the acreage to him. The farmer had a better idea. He had another farm a few miles away with a homestead that he would sell him. Dave and his wife Nancy pooled all their money together, including the money that Nancy had saved up to buy furniture for their future home, to make the down payment. This would become the Home Farm.
Two years later, the local feed mill approached him with an offer. If he were to purchase and raise a group of pigs and buy the feed from them, they would guarantee him a profit of $5 per head. They would do this three times, after which the building he would need to buy would be paid for. So he purchased 500 pigs as well as a confinement shed to raise them in. When it came time to sell them, he actually netted $15 per head. This changed his mind about raising pigs. He purchased two buildings from a local farmer that held 12 sows each and was back in the business of farrowing pigs.
He continued to add buildings, and by 1974, he was up to 400 sows and two sons. During the remainder of the 1970’s the addition of more buildings at the home farm brought him up to 800 sows. Up until the 1990’s, he sold most of the pigs as feeder pigs every Wednesday at the Kalona Sales Barn. In 1993, he signed his first finishing contract with a local farmer to begin finishing out more pigs to be sold at market weight. This same year, he moved his office from the home farm to an old bank building on Main Street in Wayland. In 1995, the first semi was purchased for hauling pigs. Also during the 1990’s, he began building more sow farms, as well as taking on some contract sow farms, and was up to 2,400 sows by 1997. This year also brought the purchase of the Yoder Feeds feed mill in Wayland so he could begin manufacturing his own feed, and Eichelberger Milling Inc. was born. The office on Main Street was moved to the mill location, and the old office was sold, becoming People’s Savings Bank.
As sow farms and sow numbers continued to grow in the 2000’s, many changes began to occur. In 2003, Eichelberger Farms joined with several other producers to form Triumph Foods. The number of semis had grown enough that Eichelberger Transportation LLC was formed in 2004. In 2006, Eichelberger Milling built a new feed mill just north of Wayland. By 2015, Eichelberger Farms was up to 40,000 sows and had outgrown the office at the feed mill in town, so a new office building was constructed on the east edge of Wayland. While many things continue to change at a rapid pace, one thing does not: our commitment to producing quality assured pork.