John Harvey’s Collection of Antique Lard Tins

Uncommon collection of antique lard tins showcases collector’s admiration for pigs and pork.

| September 2014

John Harvey’s name is usually associated with antique tractors. He created the Classic Farm Tractors calendar and founded a company called Classic Tractor Fever that focuses on people who collect, restore and preserve classic farm tractors. You may even have seen some of his Classic Tractor Fever broadcasts on RFD-TV. But most people do not associate John with antique lard tins.

Getting an early start

Growing up on a small dairy farm near St. Joseph, Missouri, John learned early on to love the land, farm people and livestock — especially hogs. His FFA chapter at Savannah High School held a hog show and sale every fall, so John jumped into the Swine Project with both feet, purchasing a purebred Hampshire gilt as a starter.

In his school’s shop class, he built a modified hog house under the sharp eye of instructor Glenn Wade. It included pig rails along the side to prevent the sow from crushing a baby pig. The mother might weigh 300 pounds, the piglet just 3 pounds; every FFA student wanted to save every pig possible.

Later, John and his father established a small, select herd of Hampshire and Yorkshire purebred hogs with customers in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. “Hogs put me through college,” John says.

Earning a degree in agricultural journalism at the University of Missouri, John joined the staff of Successful Farming in the 1960s and was named Swine Editor. He wrote numerous feature articles promoting “lean-type hogs” and the pros and cons of raising hogs in confinement. “You can see why I have a passion for pigs,” he says. “I was a hog man, or, to be politically correct today, call me a pig person.”

“Treat us as their equals”

Today, John’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, is decorated with pictures of pigs, including one by famed American artist Jamie Wyeth simply named, “Pig,” and an icon showing two Duroc hogs cheek-to-cheek titled, “Hogs are Beautiful.”