By: Shannon Wietjes
“Think Pig – That’s My Motto. P stands for Persistence, I stands for Integrity, and G stands for Guts. These are the ingredients for a successful business and a successful life.” I recently ran across this quote and it really hit home as I prepare to graduate in May and move out into the “real world”.
Pigs have been my favorite animal for a long time. I participated in 4-H and FFA when I was younger, and this is where I found my love for pigs. When I was little, I thought pigs were just a fun 4-H animal to work with and get to show, but reflecting on my time in the agricultural programs and the industry itself, I can see how this one species of animal has taught me many life lessons.
Persistence: Pigs are thought to be one of the, if not the, smartest animals. From my experience with them, I can see why. My pigs would try to outsmart me by refusing to do what I wanted them to do. In order to perform well at the county fair or other shows, I would work with my pigs and practice showing them. This took patience and persistence.
Integrity: Taking care of an animal is a full time job. My pigs taught me to treat them with respect and work hard to make sure they had everything they needed. Every morning and night, my pigs needed fed. My parents expected me to feed my pigs every day, even when I wanted to hang out with my friends or do something else instead. On hot days in the summer time it was my duty to check on the pigs often to make sure they weren’t overheating (pigs can’t sweat so instead we would spray water on them to cool them down in the hot summer days).
Guts: Showing and raising hogs takes guts. Not very long ago, the hog market hit rock bottom and it was very difficult to afford to raise hogs. However, hog producers stuck it out and are now experiencing some success. Showing pigs also takes guts. It was a major investment (time and money) for me each year to buy hogs for my youth agricultural programs. I had to commit to the animals and the program. Also, getting out into the ring and showing my hard work off to the judge and everyone watching was sometimes scary. However, without these experiences I would not have the confidence to stand up in front of people and speak or show off my hard work.
Persistence, Integrity and Guts. Being a hog producer takes all of these traits. Through my time in the hog industry I have learned the skills necessary to make myself successful in the future as I venture out into the real world. Pigs have given me the persistence, integrity and guts to succeed.