hog barns during a snowstorm The Maschhoffs

Pig care braves the elements

Caring for pigs takes no vacations, holidays off or snow days. Regardless of conditions, top-notch pig care goes on across the countryside.

Source: The Maschhoffs
Caring for pigs is no 9-to-5 job — it requires around-the-clock care and pigs don’t observe holidays. One of the lesser known aspects of hog production is planning for severe weather and braving all elements to make sure pigs are cared for and welfare needs are met.

A late-January two-day blizzard passed through Nebraska, posing dangerous road conditions and downed power lines which cut power to barns. More than 80 employees across the state ventured out to weather the storm in barns to ensure generators were in working order and pigs were comfortable. Some stayed for multiple nights until they were able to be plowed out. The efforts of these employees were able to save hundreds of pigs from freezing in the winter weather conditions.

“Our employees are some of the best there are,” says Arlyn Wasenius, production director for The Maschhoffs. “When it came time to prepare for the storm, there were no reservations about staying the night in barns. They’re always closely watching weather conditions and making judgment calls in the best interest of our pigs, even if that means they have to sacrifice sleeping in their own warm beds at home to safely ensure animal needs are met.”

This is just one instance where employees have gone above and beyond to care for pigs. In regular winter conditions, they monitor propane levels closely so pigs stay warm. In the hot summer months, they closely monitor fans and water misters so pigs don’t overheat. This is in addition to general monitoring of barn conditions and providing constant access to fresh food and water.

“If you were to ask any pig producer about the long hours or the crazy weather conditions, they’d probably smile and tell you it’s just part of their job,” Wasenius says. “There’s a lot of pride in pig care and it’s an industry I feel lucky to be a part of.”

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