By: Levi McPhillips
Take a drive across rural Nebraska, and it will not take long to see hog barns big and small dotting the landscape. Nebraskans from rural and urban areas alike are not always ecstatic about a hog operation moving into the neighborhood. It is unsettling for many to deal with the smell of hog barns. Many of the newest operations do a great job of managing the smell from hog manure. However, many people overlook the good that hog operations do for the land and the people of Nebraska.
Hog producers are a huge benefit to the land. The feed used by hog producers consists of corn, soybeans, and distillers grains. This creates good demand for the crops, and it helps those in agriculture to work together to put food on everyone’s table. The manure from the hogs is also used to fertilize the fields that grew the corn and soybeans. With the rising cost of fertilizer, the demand for hog manure continues to grow. The chemicals in the manure help replace lost nutrients from intense modern crop production. The swine industry has helped sustain crop production around the world.
Those who raise pigs also do everything in their power to care for the animals as well. The swine industry has come under increased scrutiny in recent years over the barns used to raise the animals. Many believe that the animals would be healthier if they were outside in a more natural setting. The truth is that putting hogs in a confinement protects them from the extreme weather conditions experienced in Nebraska. It also allows us to monitor their health more intensely. An animal that is stressed, uncomfortable, or neglected does not eat, and an animal that does not eat will not gain weight. It is counterproductive for producers to neglect their animals.
Another way the hog industry is good for Nebraska is that it provides good, well-paying jobs to a great number of people. Animal caretakers, nutritionists, economists, truck drivers, managers, and veterinarians are just a few of the jobs available in the swine industry. The good neighbors in the swine industry are dedicated to providing safe food to millions of people. The disease management, vaccine monitoring, and animal welfare practices are all done to ensure the safety and quality of meat to be consumed by people just like you. Hog producers are dedicated to caring for the people they employ and the people they feed.
My family’s operation is a great example of this. We produce 6,000 finished hogs annually on our farm near Lindsay, NE. My father Bill and I are dedicated to making sure that every pig gets attention everyday. My dad is constantly changing and re-evaluating his nutrition plan to find the ration that is good for the animal and good for us. My father feeds the corn that he grows with his two brothers, and he fertilizes his corn fields with the manure from his barns. My dad has been such a good example to me. He is a man who cares about the animals, the land, and the thousands of people that he feeds every year.
This is a picture of my family’s operation near Lindsay, NE. McPhillips Brothers Farm produces 6,000 pigs annually and also raises corn and soybeans.
This is a picture of one of our pigs. Taking care of animals has been one of my life’s ambitions and working with my father helped me get my start in the livestock industry.