According to calendars, spring begins on March 20. Crops farmers have long learned that spring does not start on a specific day of the day. Rolling of planters and grains drills marks when spring officially begins, but that varies depending on where you plant your seed.
One day that we can all agree on is National Ag Day, which this year coincides with the first day of spring on the calendar. This will be the 45th year that Ag Day has been celebrated in the United States. Just think of how the agriculture industry has changed in those 45 years. We were raising hogs in an old dairy barn and an open feedlot in 1973. It would be another seven years before we would build our fully enclosed finishing barn. The hog industry, aside from the few adhering to raising their pigs outdoors, has taken similar progressive strides over those years. We are currently in an expansion mode in the industry that just may be unprecedented.
Even with the drastic changes that have evolved the swine industry, and agriculture as a whole, the changes in the consumer over that time may be even more drastic. Consumers nowadays are far more removed from the farming way of life compared to 45 years ago, and that will only continue.
Though that personal connection to agriculture has changed, the consumer now hopes to have a greater connection to the source of their food, and how that food is raised. Consumers have become more vocal about production practices being used on American farms, and modern technology has made it easier (for better or worse) for them to make their wishes loud and clear.
The U.S. swine industry is doing a good job of telling the hog production story to the consuming public, and producers don’t wait for a specific date on the calendar. National Ag Day, which has a theme this year of “Agriculture: Food For Life,” is a good platform to share agriculture’s story. Across the country, there are numerous programs taking place in “a nationwide effort to tell the true story of American agriculture and remind citizens that agriculture is a part of all of us,” according to a press release from the Agriculture Council of America, host of Ag Day.
Hog producers know that they can’t only share the true story of how and why they produce hogs the way they do. Many producers have stepped up to welcome consumers, mostly through social media, into their barns. Not only sharing production stories with consumers but more importantly sharing with consumers why the farmer story is important to the consumer and the food they buy.
Celebrate your profession of feeding the world on National Ag Day and every day.