October is Pork Month and a time to highlight the traditions of past decades in hog production and the advancements that have been made in production practices. Heather Hill is a pork farmer in Greenfield and the president of the Indiana Pork Board.
“Being part of a multi generational family farm, traditions are a big part of our daily lives, and that’s what agriculture is about, learning from the generations before us and taking from their learning as well as adapting the new things we’ve learned and being able to raise food for my family and yours,” she told HAT
Hill says the industry has seen many changes and advancements through the years, but the dedication farmers have for providing a quality product has been a constant. She says the industry is as committed as ever to doing the right thing and Indiana Pork is excited to show consumers how they do the right things when Legacy Farms opens. That’s the modern, tourable pig farm being constructed now at Fair Oaks Pig Adventure.
“Indiana Pork is big supporter and sponsor of that project and so the fact that in December we’ll have pigs moving into a farm that hopefully will be open in the summer of 2013 for consumers to be able to tour much like the Fair Oaks Dairy Adventure, is very exciting. For years I’ve wished and hoped that we could have something to let people inside of our barns. Obviously with biosecurity we know that’s not always the easiest thing to do, and so the Fair Oaks Pig Adventure will definitely offer that. That’s something that Indiana Pork is really excited for.”
Thanks to the availability of new technology and tools, producers are becoming more sustainable, as shown in a study released this year that compared farm data from 1959 to the same production information for 2009. By reducing their carbon footprint 35 percent and the land needed to produce a pound of pork by 78 percent, producers are showing their ability to do more with less.*
Farmers understand it is their responsibility to make sure that they are doing the best they can at every stage of production, not just when it comes to the environment. Hill points out that the creation of programs like Pork Quality Assurance® Plus and Transport Quality Assurance® has helped demonstrate the industry-wide commitment to animal care and food safety to consumers. All of these programs are designed to increase traceability and trust within the food supply chain.
Farmers also are working hard to employ the six ethical principles of the We CareSM initiative. These principles help to build trust with the public while ensuring that producers are doing their part to provide a safe work environment for their employees, humane animal care for their pigs, and a wholesome product for consumers.
“We Care and the established ethical principles are a way for pork farmers to highlight and reinforce their passion and dedication for what they do,” Hill said. “Providing quality food, safeguarding natural resources, working to better the community, and all of the other principles are things that have been the focus of pork farming for years.”[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/10/October-Pork-month.mp3|titles=October Pork month]
*Source: A 50-Year Comparison of the Carbon Footprint and Resource Use of the US Swine Herd: 1959 – 2009, Garth Boyd
Source: Indiana Pork