A story of traditional values, progressive practices and admired success.
After serving in the U.S. Civil War, Harmon Waldo moved to Lincoln, Nebraska and established its first blacksmith shop in 1868. Harm moved to DeWitt in 1871 and was deeded a 26-acre farm in 1882. His youngest of four sons, also named Harmon, was born just a week after his death. Their mother died seven years later, leaving the four boys orphans. To survive on their farm on the edge of DeWitt, the Waldo boys operated horse, livery, dray and other businesses.
In 1895, the brothers purchased their first Duroc sow. She farrowed 51 pigs and raised 36 in her first three litters. The Waldo family has been in the red pig business ever since. They have exhibited at the Nebraska State Fair every year since 1903. After 1910, brothers Cliff and Harmon each maintained separate Duroc herds. In 1934, Harmon’s son Willard graduated from the University of Nebraska. By 1937, Waldo Farms had built a very good reputation and a lot of good will, had not accumulated much.
So, a goal was set to have the best Duroc herd in the world and to either make the business profitable, or quit farming.
While working as a Vo-Ag instructor and County Extension Agent, Willard Waldo established his own Duroc herd using selected, Waldo-raised foundation stock. Willard strongly believed in using the principles of agricultural science to improve swine breeding stock. He put his beliefs into practice by being the first or one of the first to weigh pigs at birth, weaning and marketing time. He recorded the days required to reach market weight and also developed a simple, but effective ear notching system to identify each pig.
In 1946, the Willard moved his family to the present farm, located two miles south of DeWitt. Waldo Durocs were tops in a 1948 University of Nebraska test comparing all breeds and crossbreds. In 1956, Waldo Farms was the first US herd to have an extension agent probe the entire herd for backfat and then use the results in a selection program designed to reduce carcass fat levels in the entire population. Over the years, Waldo Farms has established a tradition of using independent evaluators and industry-wide trials to measure the performance of Waldo Farms pigs.
Willard’s son Max graduated from University of Nebraska and became a full partner in 1960. Under Max’s leadership, an SPF herd was established and an intensive, whole-herd performance testing and selection program was started at that time. Expansion of the operation over the next four decades has been on-going in order to maintain a competitive edge in the swine industry. Since 1970, Waldo Farms has been home to the world’s oldest and largest performance-tested registered Duroc herd. Landrace and Yorkshire herds were added in 1976.
Over the years, new genetic lines have been evaluated and some selected individual sires have been used to develop lines to meet the needs of a growing customer base. Since 1983, computer-based Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) have been used to accelerate the genetic improvement of Waldo pigs. The latest pig health and genetics technologies continue to be incorporated into Waldo products.
More than a century of progress.
Note: Again, this is mostly a pickup from the current site.
This may or may not be split-out from the history story.
A graphic “timeline” approach may be developed.
1895 -Waldo family starts Duroc business with a sow named Confidence
1903 – Harmon (H.O.) Waldo Durocs first exhibited at Nebraska State Fair
1903-2001 – Championships at Nebraska State Fair and state and national hog shows
1909 – W.F. Waldo and C.W. Buck Bred Sow Sale
1912 – Willard Waldo starts feeding pigs
1914 – First Annual Waldo Farms breeding stock sale
1922 – First Waldo breeding stock sale in new, on-farm pavilion
1934 – Willard graduates from University of Nebraska College of Agriculture
• Worked as an ag instructor and county agent
1937 – Expanded Duroc operation, started keeping performance records
* Developed ear notching system for 400+ litters
• Weighed pigs at birth and weaning
• Counted nipples and checked for underline quality
• Calculated days to reach market weight
• Checked barrows for meat quality
1944 – Waldo wins National Duroc Swine Registry Ton Litter Contest
1946 – Biggest boar ever in Nebraska — “Heavy Set” weighed 1400 pounds
* Moved to current farm location two miles south of DeWitt
1948 – Waldo Durocs top University of Nebraska tests comparing all breeds and crossbreds
1951 – Waldo Durocs top Canadian government trials vs. other breeds and hybrids
1952 – Dr. Young of Hormel Institute develops HORSFALL pig rearing unit
* Hysterectomy procedure for SPF developed
1955 – #1 Nebraska Brucellosis-Lepto Validated Herd
* Dr. Young moves comes to University of Nebraska to develop SPF concept
1956 – Entire herd probed for backfat, established probing of all replacement stock — continuous to present
* Dr. Robert Meade started University of Nebraska SPF research herd
1959 – First caesarian-derived Waldo nucleus herd established
1960 – Max Waldo graduates from University of Nebraska and becomes full partner
- Held last public breeding stock sale
- Started SPF herd and sold stock privately to avoid disease spread
- Nebraska SPF administers whole-herd performance testing program
- 100% of young boars and gilts weighed and probed for backfat
- Herd closed to outside breeding stock
- Replacements selected on index of gain and backfat
- First Nebraska herd to use artificial insemination (A.I.)
1974 – Landrace and Yorkshire Herds established
1976 to Present – Largest Duroc recorder in the world,
10,183 Durocs raised, named and recorded— an all-time record
* Geneticist Dr. Rodger Johnson starts consulting for Waldo.
1979 – Duroc, Landrace and York herds certified HAL-1234 stress-gene free
* Started routine littermate carcass evaluations
1981 – #1 Nebraska Pseudorabies Qualified Herd
1983 – Waldo implements Estimated Breeding Value selection program
• Nebraska SPF EBV Index
1985 – Second caesarian-derived Waldo nucleus herd established
* National Pork Board founded
1988 – Phased-out active exhibition and sales of stock to breeders, total focus on producing genetics for commercial producers
1989 – Segregated Early Weaning (SEW) program implemented
1992 – Implemented BLUP EBVs selection index
* National Barrow Show (NBS) Champion Truckload
• Waldo genetics would dominate NBS for years
• 24 NBS Super Sires
1994 – Nebraska SPF starts real-time scanning of test pigs for backfat and loin
* Waldo produced 15 Champs and Reserve Champs in 16 shows entered
1995 – NPPC National Genetic Evaluation Program established
• ADG and F/G superiority of Waldo Durocs confirmed
• High meat quality of Waldo Durocs documented
1998 – Started evaluation and testing of Nebraska High Ovulation Maternal Line
1999 – Ranked #1 in NPPC Japanese Quality Test Program
2000 – National Swine Registry Summary Sire results
• Waldo Farms leads in rate of genetic improvement
• Superior progeny-proven sires listed in STAGES