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Old barn in a blizzard Getty Images/iStockphoto

Blizzard reminds how much pig farmers care

Hog farms are not among the businesses that can take the day off due to inclement weather.

Well, it wasn't quite like a blizzard of my youth, with high winds, almost-hard-to-measure amounts of snow and power outages, but this past weekend's storm did cause flashbacks.

Schools in our area were being proactive and started cancelling classes on Thursday night in preparation for what the forecasters were predicting to come Friday into Saturday. The snow did come, and the winds blew, and we didn't have anywhere to go, so we stayed put. There are some benefits to working from home.

As the winds howled and the snow swirled around our yard over the weekend, the flashbacks took me to when I was a kid, raising hogs in less than ideal housing, at least not for an upper Midwest farm. Think converted dairy barn with deep bedding. The hogs were comfortable, we made sure of that, but when the temperatures dipped so low, like they did this past weekend, waterlines would freeze.

We had to run kettles of boiling water from the house out to the barn, hoping the water would still be warm enough to thaw the water in the hydrants. Depending on the conditions, this process needed to be repeated until water was again flowing freely to fill the stock tank. If the weather didn't turn, we were back out in a couple of hours, repeating the thaw cycle.

Keep in mind, these facilities that I speak of are what a lot of today's society believe our producers should be resorting back to. Though I no longer raise hogs, I can speak for the mass majority of today's producers, this is not an option. Why? Because hog producers care about the animals under the watch. They always have, they always will.

As mentioned before, a lot of the schools in the area called off for Friday, and a lot of businesses followed suit. One group of businesses that did not call off, did not take a snow day, was livestock producers. As you well know, pigs do not care about what's going on outside the walls of their facility, they are just concerned about getting their next mouthful of food, a good drink of water and a nice, comfortable place to relax.

Pigs don't care, pigs don't have to care, because pig farmers do care.

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