Three years ago I accepted my first ever internship with Murphy-Brown (later to become Smithfield). If you would have told me then that I would be sitting here today advocating for pig farmers, I would have told you to get some fresh air because the ammonia is getting to your head. Yet here I am, three years later, doing the thing I swore I would never do.
Pigs were never really my thing. I grew up with beef and dairy cattle, horses, chickens and everything in between, but the closest I came to hogs was bacon on my plate. Truly, when I applied for that first job with hogs, I was only expecting a pay check and a free place to live over the summer. But! It became so much more to me than that.
What does #RealPigFarming mean to you?
I have found myself asking this question quite often lately. When I first became part of the hog farming family, I thought that real pig farming was dehumanizing. I thought that when I walked through those doors of the really long white barns, that I was going to experience some things that I did not like. And I did. I did not like waking up early in the morning every day of the week. I did not like having to take multiple showers a day (do you know what that does to your hair!?). I did not like scraping the alleyways behind the pens. Yet, along with all of the things I did not like, there were several that I did. I loved seeing the baby piglets hopping happily around their moms just a few days after being born. I loved hearing the success stories from my managers and coworkers. I loved knowing that the people in charge of making sure our pigs were healthy and happy loved their job! I learned that being bigger does not always mean bad or that people do not care. What I had originally thought of as a factory farm, I began to see as several families united under one name.
After experiencing the industry first hand, I have come to believe that #RealPigFarming is much more than what anti-agriculturist groups portray it to be. #RealPigFarming is real people providing real, quality care to their animals. Pig farmers are my friends, coworkers, mentors and so much more! So when someone asks YOU what #RealPigFarming is, tell them your story loud and proud. Even if you do not raise pigs yourself, but are a pork connoisseur, be proud of the fact that your meal came from a family whose livelihood revolves around making sure you are delivered a quality product from the farm to the fork.
Thank you for supporting #RealPigFarming and the farming families that make it possible!