307 Genetics: Family operation dedicates time to helping youth in the show ring
The Bridges family got their start in the hog business at a young age through showing swine projects in 4-H and FFA.
As years went on, their deep love for showing and passion for the industry led to the establishment of 307 Genetics, a family owned and operated show pig business that is dedicated to helping other exhibitors find success in the show ring.
Sabina Wyse, formerly a Bridges, notes the family started by farrowing four gilts but has since expanded their operation.
“We loved it so much, we kept letting it grow, and now we are up to 17 sows,” she says.
Sabina’s stepmom Jennifer Triplett further notes the family farrows their sows once a year in January, and piglets are sold through an annual sale on the last Saturday in March for 4-H and FFA exhibitors to show the following summer.
“We moved to an online sale, but we always do an open house the day before the sale and the morning of so people can come from wherever, look through the lots, see the pigs in person and get an idea of what they want,” explains Sabina. “This way, they don’t have to buy something they haven’t seen.”
Jennifer points out the online format also allows people – both in and out of state – to bid on pigs even when things start to get busy in the spring.
Each March, 307 Genetics’ Annual Pig Sale is the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work – breeding, feeding and farrowing. However, for the Bridges family the work doesn’t end there, it only begins.
Sabina and Jennifer explain they are dedicated to ensuring each and every one of their buyers have access to their wealth of knowledge and skills when it comes to finding success in the show ring.
“We are willing to go above and beyond for our customers,” states Sabina. “We welcome everyone who buys from us calls us, e-mails us, asks us questions and sends us videos. We want all of our customers to succeed, and we love getting phone calls and text messages to let us know how they are doing throughout the summer.”
The family also makes it a priority to travel to as many shows as possible to help exhibitors prepare and answer any questions that may arise.
“We are blessed to have enough of us that there is always someone to answer the phone and one of us usually has time to travel around and help,” says Jennifer. “Everybody helps, even the little kids – the grandbabies spend as much time in the barn as the rest of us. Everybody pitches in and does a little of everything. It is a unique operation.”
Passion for the industry
The family is very passionate about the hog industry, noting they have a strong love for the animals they raise.
“Pigs are a lot like people,” says Sabina. “They have personalities. They know their names. They can teach us a lot about ourselves, and I really love that.”
Jennifer notes there is a lot of misconstrued information about pigs.
“They are not dirty, and they are not dumb,” she says. “They are actually very smart, very strong and very maternal. They talk to their babies and their babies talk back. Pigs have an advanced vocabulary, and given the opportunity, they are probably the cleanest animal out there.”
Jennifer also notes Wyoming’s pork industry is impressive for its size.
“We are small in Wyoming compared to other states, but the numbers of pigs coming out of Wyoming are huge,” she says. “It is a very tight-knit community that is open and kind and the people are good. We all have a huge passion for it.”
She adds, “I think all of the show pig producers in Wyoming are top notch. Wyoming is super competitive for our size. Every producer has things they do really well, but at the end of the day, we are all doing the same things for the same reasons – the kids.”
Sabina and Jennifer agree the kids are what makes staying in the industry worth it when things get tough, because like any other ag operation, 307 Genetics has had its share of challenges.
They have found the Wyoming weather to be one of their biggest challenges, and they note last year was especially hard.
“Last year, we had a cold snap of -25 degrees Fahrenheit in December,” says Jennifer. “Then, when we bred, it was 105 degrees Fahrenheit. We are already asking Mother Nature to do something she doesnʼt want to do by breeding in September.”
This range in extreme weather conditions left 307 Genetics with less piglets than they usually have to sell to their customers. However, the family has continued to persevere, looking for strength in the one thing that keeps them going when things get tough – the kids.
Sabina and Jennifer agree their will to continue is found in the smiles on the faces of kids who come to the ranch to find a pig to purchase or in an end-of-the-season thank you gift telling them how much fun they had during the summer.
“I had a family of boys who had never bought from us before, and they thought it was the coolest thing on the planet to see all of the baby pigs in the barn,” shares Sabina. “It was so much fun, and all of the smiles on their faces is what really keeps us going.”
Sabina also says she draws inspiration from her own children.
“What personally keeps me going is my kids. They will go out to the barn and see the babies, and the look on their faces is priceless,” she adds. “It’s the best.”
Despite the challenges, 307 Genetics has found a lot of success, which they all measure in different ways.
Sabina shares she believes the family’s greatest accomplishment is their repeat customers.
“We have created a pretty good customer base up here in the Big Horn Basin and are now moving towards southern parts of the state as well,” she says.
“There are a lot more breeders in Wyoming than one might think, so it’s cool to have those kids repeatedly come back to work with us.”
“It has been really cool to have families come back year after year because they believe in our program and trust what we are doing,” she adds.
For Jennifer, 307 Genetics’ greatest accomplishment is its consistency.
“We have been able to fine tune our breeding program to consistently provide animals to fit what the show industry is looking for,” she comments. “If nothing else, we are consistent.”
As they look toward the future, the family has some big goals in mind.
Sabina shares her hope for the program is to find success at a national level, taking home honors from the Aksarben Stock Show, Denver Stock Show or the Northern International Livestock Expo.
Jennifer’s goal for 307 Genetics is sustainability.
“My hope is that we will be here tomorrow and the day after that,” she says. “We want to be sustainable and continue doing what we are doing.”
For more information on 307 Genetics, visit 307genetics.com or call Joe at 307-254-8996, Jennifer at 307-254-3489 or Sabina at 307-254-3855.
Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.