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Nevada farmer sends piggies to market, but not his pal Humphrey

April 19, 2013|By John M. Glionna
  • Pig farmer Bob Combs has been picking up food scraps at Las Vegas' buffet lines and feeding them to his 2,500 hogs since 1963. But Humphrey, a special hog here with Combs, has become a family pet.
Pig farmer Bob Combs has been picking up food scraps at Las Vegas' buffet… (Michael Robinson Chavez…)

NORTH LAS VEGAS — Rooting somewhere out in the bushes on Bob Combs’ suburban farm is a grouchy old character nicknamed Humphrey, who likes to eat grass and doesn’t take kindly to most people.

Humphrey happens to be a hog, a pot-bellied pig. He’s a full-time resident at one of the more unusual pig farms in America, and a feature story this week in the Los Angeles Times highlights RC Farms and its unique approach to food recycling.

For 50 years now, with a knee-slapping sense of humor straight out of the 1960s television show “Green Acres,” the gray-haired Combs has turned castoff food from local casinos into feed for his 2,500 pigs. The animals eventually go to market, and some end up right back on the casino buffet menu.

But not Humphrey.

The gray-haired beast and his mate showed up at the farm a year ago. Somebody just left the two pigs at Combs’ doorstep and drove off. Within days, they were family.

But tragedy struck. During a freak storm last year, Mrs. Humphrey fell into a water-filled hole and drowned.

“Poor thing, she couldn’t get herself out,” Combs’ wife, Janet, told the Times. “She was so sweet. She liked candy.”

The loss has made Humphrey more ornery than ever. He hangs in the bushes on the outskirts of the farm and growls when most people pass.

The other day, on a tour of his spread, Combs jumped out of his golf cart and greeted the pig his wife jokes is even more stubborn than he is.

“He’s a widower now. He’s cute, though,” Combs said, scratching Humphrey’s head as the pig grunted and groaned. “He’s just a grumpy old thing.”

john.glionna@latimes.com

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