Belstra Milling Company, Inc. was honored with the "One Welfare" award at the recent Indiana Veterinary Medical Association (IVMA) annual meeting.
The IVMA presents the "One Welfare" recognition award as a way to thank an Indiana resident or company who promotes the advancement of animal welfare issues by way of outstanding service, education or research, or one who provides exemplary care to livestock. Award recipients also are recognized for the impact they have made toward significantly improving the welfare of agricultural animals in the state.
The leadership at Belstra Milling Company, located in DeMotte, IN, says animals come first.
"We promote animal husbandry practices that encourage dignity, respect and welfare for the animal," says Jon Hoek, the Vice President of Pig Production for the company.
Hoek credits the milling company's passion for pigs and company philosophy of making sure they are always treated with care to Malcolm DeKryger, who is the president of Belstra Milling Company.
Well maintained facilities play a vital role in enhancing the welfare of the pig. Belstra Milling has eight full-time design and maintenance professionals, whose job is to make sure the facility is very well maintained, including the different sow housing options, and the variety of technologies the milling company uses.
A passion and love for the pig are fostered in the culture at the 60-year-old family and employee-owned company.
"A lot of urban people don't see the passion farmers have for their animals. Our people are fascinated with pigs," Hoek says, adding that there is no greater delight to be called to a vocation that does so much good for both pigs and people. "We really are serving people ultimately, by feeding people."
To showcase its stockmanship and animal husbandry skills, Belstra Milling Company teamed up with Fair Oaks Farms to bring the Pig Adventure to the Fair Oaks Farm Agritourism operation.
Hoek notes that it's one thing for a company to say they are good at animal welfare strategies, and another thing to let millions of people see them do the right thing every day.
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