Regardless what you may be led to believe by outspoken anti-animal agriculture folks, families are the backbone of U.S. agriculture and more specifically our country’s swine industry.
This week I attended the 50th anniversary of the Minnesota Pork Congress. Producers, production models and pig themselves have changed over those 50 years, but one of the things that has remained true throughout the years is the strength of the American pig-producing family.
According to stats on PorkCares.org, 98% of hog farms in the United States are family owned and operated. Giving credit where credit is due was the main theme during the awards reception that kicked off the event in Minneapolis. From Jared Anez of Anez Consulting accepting the Environmental Steward award to Terry Wolters being named pork promoter of the year to Craig Mensink receiving the Distinguished Service Award, a common thread was the thanks each one of them gave their families.
As Wolters is out promoting pork for the greater good of the industry, being away from home puts a strain on those left at home to keep things going. In his biography in the Minnesota Pork Congress Guide for this year’s show, Wolters says he is most proud of his family and the relationships he has forged with so many incredible people over the years. “To me, family goes beyond the home,” Wolters says. “I am blessed to have a network of people that continue to invest and believe in me.”
The family goes beyond bloodlines, as Rick Benson pointed out as he accepted the Swine Manager of the Year award. Yes, the time he spends in the Hugoson Pork barns keeps him away from his blood family, but that time gets him closer to his “barn family.”
In his Pork Congress guide biography, Benson says that he is proud of his accomplishments as a manager but more proud of the accomplishments of his entire team.
“Being a manager means thinking sensibly and always doing the right thing for animals and our team,” he says. “It is my job to make sure they are appreciated, engaged and they have everything they need to be successful. If they are not successful, I am not successful.”
It’s all relative.
It all depends
That phrase, “It’s all relative” usually refers to the perception of something changing depending on its context.
As Steve Meyer, EMI Analytics, wrapped up his market outlook at the Minnesota Pork Congress, he referred to a conversation that he had prior to the session with Don Buhl, a Minnesota hog producer and industry leader. Meyer says Buhl asked him before the presentation: “Steve, am I going to feel better after hearing your presentation?”
Meyer told Buhl, “That depends. How do you feel now?”
It’s all relative.
Buhl did admit that he did feel better after hearing Meyer lay out the market picture for the hog and pork world.
Inauguration fever or fervor?
Relativity of feeling is playing out as I write this. Donald Trump has just become the 45th president of the United States of America. The media have let us know that not everyone is happy with the impending Trump administration. As large crowds showed approval of the new president, others attempted to disrupt the inauguration proceedings and were causing damage in D.C.
Granted, I may have short-term memory loss, but I don’t recall protests and rioting when Barack Obama took the oath four years ago, or even eight years ago. Not everyone welcomed an Obama administration, but I believe that those people respectfully accepted the outcome of the election process and hoped for the best.
Like it or not, that same election system is what brought us to today’s inauguration of Donald Trump, rather than Hillary Clinton. Are all Republicans feeling great about today and about the future of our country because their party’s candidate is now heading to the White House? I guess not all. Are any Democrats feeling good about today and the future of the United States? I’m guessing that this number would show a majority leaning to “no.”
We are all one big American family, and as in any family, not everyone always agrees or gets along. There are times when differences take a long time to work themselves out, but at the end of the day, we are all still family. Tomorrow, next month, next year, four years from now, we will still be one big American family. Let’s put our differences, and biases aside to work for the common good of a great country.
So, how do I feel about a Trump presidency?
Ask me in four years.