My name is Rico Silvera. I was born in New York City a long time ago and in what seems as a galaxy that is now far far away. I grew up on 10 acres in Stony Point NY the third (and final son) of a Panamanian immigrant father and a German immigrant mother. We had 10 acres and my mom had an incredible passion for gardening and animals that at the time I did not share.I graduated from North Rockland High School (1973) and received a BS in management from Rensselaer Polytechinc Institute (1978) in Troy NY. At RPI I lettered in both football and lacrosse. After college I moved to the Detroit area where I was employed by Ford Motor Company for two years as a process engineer.After leaving Ford I went to work for ITT Cannon Electric for the next 10 years where I served as National Field Quality Manager . In 1985 I moved to East Tennessee and I have never looked back. In 1987 I began a career as a self employed entrepreneur . Since that time I founded or co-founded five different companies which included a boat dealership, a car dealership / collateral value recovery company serving Knoxville based secured creditors.and an event management company.
People ask me did I always have a love of farming. My answer is quite frankly no. But I have a deep abiding love for my wife. And when it became apparent that she longed for something different than our suburban Knoxville life I realized that a farmer I would be. Once we settled in I threw myself into the farm with an open heart. But neither goats nor sheep nor chickens inspired a passion in me. I would have been the last to guess that a single feeder pig purchased in our first few months on the farm would have such a long term impact on my farm life. It was an American Guinea Hog. Dont ask me why but pigs,especially docile rare heritage pigs ,became my passion here on the farm. For six years I found myself building a breeding program with these little black pigs that would result in our genetics being represented in herds in 13 different states. I became more and more deeply involved in the breed and from May of 2015 to June of 2016 I served on the board of directors as the region 5 director for the American Guinea Hog Association. I also chaired the breeders committee and genetics sub committee for that organization. During that time I was privy to the good the bad and the ugly of Heritage animal registries. In 2015 my hog breeding focus took an abrupt 90 degree turn towards Chinese Meishan Pigs. Meishans are an incredibly versatile ,incredibly prolific ,incredibly docile pig breed that is also probably the rarest livestock swine breed in North America. It was at that time that a series of improbable and unlikely events resulted in our farm compiling the most genetically diverse herd of Meishan Pigs outside of China. Meishans are now the sole focus of our swine breeding program.We are working diligently with a handful of dedicated breeders to preserve and promote the genetics we were able to rescue from oblivion when the research facilities that housed them terminated 27 year old research program .Click here to find out more about that story. Today I am deeply involved in the formation of The American Meishan Breeders Association. Currently I am the President of the A.M.B.A. I hope to draw on my experience from serving on and dealing with livestock registries to develop a breeder focused model that so may registries and associations lack.
But like my wife idle time is not something I have much of, In addition to farming I have been the head lacrosse coach for a Knoxville based private school since 2004 . During that time I have served three terms on the board of directors of the Tennessee Scholastic Lacrosse Association (the sanctioning body for boys high school lacrosse in Tennessee) including serving as its President twice. I consider my 15 years coaching high school age boys a ministry. My staff and I dont try
to teach them lacrosse.We try to teach them to achieve excellence through hard work ,sacrifice, service and submission to a greater cause. Lacrosse is just the vehicle we use.
In 2007 I was blessed to have the opportunity to marry my beautiful wife Angelia and she has truly changed my life, made me a better man and helped open my heart to the Lord..
In 2010 we purchased our land in Niota TN and began another journey as we seek to undertake the tasks and serve the purpose the Lord intends for us.
Today side by side we operate Gods Blessing Farm LLC. It has been an incredible journey. We invite you to share it with us.