By: Kristin Witte
Growing up on the family farm I understood at an early age that taking care of our livestock comes first, whether it was blizzarding, pouring or a heat wave. Pork producers have always cared about their hogs but with more people being three generations or more from the farm it is important that our “We Care” message gets spread. Social Media is a great way to spread this message but don’t forget about the good old way of having a face to face conversation with someone.
How do you start this conversation and get the point across that as producers We Care about what we do. It’s easy, as I have moved away from home often time’s people ask me where I’m from and if I grew up a farm. When I tell them yes, it never ceases to amaze me how many questions people have about living on a farm. We all just need to be open to answering these questions and remember to explain our farming “lingo.” To me it seems everyone should understand what weaning is and why we do it because I’ve noticed that when I use these terms I often lose the person I’m speaking to, so I try to explain what I’m talking about. There are always some of those funny questions like “Why do pigs play in the mud?” This is a great question to show how much We Care about our hogs. My answer is always well pigs don’t have sweat glands like we do so to keep cool they would use mud but now days our hog barns are climate controlled, have sprinklers and it is usually cooler inside the barn than outside.
Besides being open to questions, my sisters and I often bring friends home with us who have never been on a farm. Some of friends grew up in small towns and never had a chance to visit a farm and others come from large cities. I love showing my friends our farm and it is a great way to help a consumer connect to where their food comes from. Our friends love to help my Dad feed our livestock and jump at the chance to drive a tractor, with supervision of course.
Producers have always and will continue to care about their livestock but it is now time for us to tell consumers that We Care. It doesn’t need to be a speech to a local club; it can be something as simple as being friendly and willing to answer any questions your friends or acquaintances may have. Share your experiences living and working on a farm. When you have a chance take friends along to “help” do chores but most of all don’t forget to show and tell how We Care.