About Our Farmer
Owner and founder of Sweet Briar, Keith Cooper takes great pride in what he does. Growing up on a ranch in Eastern Colorado, his desire to farm began in the midst of several unsuccessful attempts to grow bean plants in an old tin can. His passion for farming was sustained through a relocation to the Willamette Valley. He began looking into different options to inherit a farm from an already established farmer; however, after little success with this direction, he began considering other facets of farming.
He grew interested in raising pigs through his children's involvement in 4-H, a program dedicated to educating young people in areas such as home-economics and livestock. It "evolved," as Cooper puts it, from there. They began raising a few pigs, just for family and friends, then added a few more pigs, and a few more, until he had a thriving business on his hands.
Cooper's days begin at 5 a.m., with regular chores, including checking the pigs, cleaning out the pens, and making sure the auto-feeders and auto-water machine are working smoothly. In the evening he repeats this routine, cleaning the pens more thoroughly and further caring for the pigs.
Despite the lone, and often long, hours spent in the barn, Cooper maintains that working with the animals is one of the perks. He enjoys the down-to-earth lifestyle that farming allows, as well as the opportunity to feed his passion. When asked why he finds it so important to keep his pork all natural, he doesn't hesitate to answer: “It's a philosophical issue – a lack of being convinced that the corporate farming way of raising pigs in the only way.” For both Cooper and Sweet Briar Farms, the quality of his pork products is very important.