Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and it seems like it just got started.
No, I am not talking about Major League Baseball’s World Series, which closes out the 2019 season with either the Nationals or Astros taking Game 7 tonight. It may just be me, but it seems like the 162-game season and post-season just flew by.
What I’m talking about is the end of October, and with it the end of Pork Month. Social media is full of “challenges,” where people are challenged to profess their dedication or commitment to someone or something.
Leon Sheets, pig farmer from Iowa and a recent America’s Pig Farmer of the Year, took on the challenge to share on Facebook his passion for pig farming. To say that Sheets is passionate about pig farming is the understatement of understatements. If you get a chance to meet the legend in person, you had better hold on tight, because you are going to get a lesson in pig farming and in being a better person. Anyway, this month Sheets has been sharing glimpses into the life of a pig farmer on his Facebook page, under the #porktoberfest19photochallenge tag. He shares photos of what goes on around his farm, and away from his farm. Some are humorous, some poignant, some serious, some pure “Sheets-isms,” but no matter how you cut it, they are all very real posts, of real life on an Iowa hog farm.
There also have been many posts throughout the month using #octoberporkmonth or #porktober to promote the U.S. pork industry with info bytes as well as recipes for the real bites.
Real Pig Farming, a program of the National Pork Board, provides at outlet for pig farmers to share their stories, as the subhead of the #RealPigFarming Facebook says: “Real Farms. Real Stories.”
This may be preaching to the choir, as my readership is mostly hog farmers, but Real Pig Farming last week debuted a video series opening modern hog facilities to the consuming public. Maddie Hokanson, a Minnesota pig farmer and former Pig Farmer of Tomorrow, takes viewers on a tour through the farrowing room, nursery and the finishing barn.
Visit the Real Pig Farming Facebook page to take Hokanson’s tour, as well as check out all the other videos available.
Randy Spronk “hosts” a video, also on Real Pig Farming, showcasing the efforts that Spronk Brothers in southwestern Minnesota takes to ensure that the manure from the family’s hog operation is properly applied to surrounding crop ground. Yes, farming has changed from the days of his father and grandfather, but so has the technology that allows today’s farmers to manage the valuable resource that manure has become.
Again, this message is nothing new for you and your fellow pig farmers, but your urban cousins could use these quick tutorials to become enlightened and educated about today’s hog production practices. Farm stories from farmers, rather than some urbanite telling the tale of modern agriculture.
U.S. pork production is something that needs to be celebrated. Yes, pork is one of the most versatile, flavorful and safest proteins available, and it is produced by women and men who care about people, pigs and the planet. Each day they work to instill the We Care principles.
A mere 31 days is not enough to honor the great, wholesome animal protein that we all know and love. Just as one day is not enough to celebrate mothers, fathers, veterans or agriculture, we don’t have to stop celebrating pork when Halloween gives way to All Saints Day.
October was designated as Pork Month to honor the time of year when hogs were traditionally marketed, but as we know, hogs are marketed mostly every day of the year, so we should celebrate all year long.