With only a few days left to apply for the Pork Checkoff’s 2019 Pig Farmers of Tomorrow, many young industry members may be questioning if they’ve got what it takes to apply. That’s a fair question and one 2018 Pig Farmer of Tomorrow Adam Krause stumbled over himself at one time. After all it took the fourth-generation Clear Lake, S.D., pig farmer two times applying before he received the honor.
During his presentation “Being a spokesperson for your industry” at the South Dakota State University Swine Day Tuesday, Krause gave credit to several role models who helped nudge him in the right direction. The list includes his wife, his father, executive director of the South Dakota Pork Producers Council Glenn Muller and SDSU professor and Extension swine specialist Bob Thaler.
While his father pushed him as a high school student to engage more in the industry and get involved in speaking and educational events with the South Dakota Pork Producers Council, Krause says he knew coming into his freshman year at SDSU he was still pretty shy and pretty green.
“I learned early on I need to find some friends,” Krause says. “I need to find a good support base, people that I can learn from.”
For Krause that base was the SDSU Swine Club and the additional push he received from the advisers. He recalls during his sophomore year when Thaler requested Krause, as well as another student, join him on the SDSU plane in the morning and fly to the state capitol in Pierre with then dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences Barry Dunn and president of SDSU David Chicoine to try to get a bill passed to get money for the SDSU Swine Education and Research Facility.
“As a sophomore in college, that’s carrying some weight,” Krause says. “One of my favorite quotes is ‘great success is born from great opportunities’ and this was something I really needed.”
Being a Pig Farmer of Tomorrow has been an invaluable opportunity for Krause. While he’s still learning some aspects of social media, he says he’s built up more confidence and become a better communicator both in person and online.
One thing he’s learned even more is how “a picture is truly worth a thousand words.” Krause encourages producers to double-check the photo every time before posting and to check the background. If someone is seeing this for the first time, could it be contradictory? Could it send the wrong message for our industry? Krause says little things like that can make you a better communicator online.
“How often do we sit next to somebody and scroll through a Facebook feed together? That person may share it or show it to somebody where that is not normal,” Krause says. “Keep in mind your footprint may seem small, but it doesn’t take much to get a larger reach and a larger realm.”
Krause’s other tips include:
- Keep it short. There are other platforms for longer messages.
- What is your attention grabber? Photo or phrase?
- Show your passion.
“Don’t have a Facebook account just to only share pig stuff. That gets dry. That gets boring,” Krause says. “If I only posted pig stuff, I’m losing my audience, I’m losing my interest because people know what is coming next.”
During his time as America’s Pig Farmer of Tomorrow, Krause says the most-asked questions from consumers have been 1. How do you cook pork? and 2. Why do you keep pig indoors?
For the latter question, he often goes back to a Facebook post with two photos, one of himself outside the barn in a jacket and overalls during a blizzard and the other of himself in a T-shirt and overalls, nice and cozy in the 80-degree barn that houses all the little pigs.
“To be completely honest, yeah we love pig farming and I love my job, but at the same time we have so many more opportunities to show other people why we love this way of life and why we do what we do,” Krause says.
What’s next for the 2018 Pig Farmer of Tomorrow?
“I’m a young kid with a lot of dreams, but right now I’m just living in the movement, living the dream so will see if any more opportunities come up in the future,” Krause says.