First, I want to say thank you so much to everyone who has shown this new ag blog writer support, love and encouragement. That is one thing I cherish about being apart of the agriculture community, we are united and supportive of one another. Nobody can truly understand the level and kind work that goes on at your farm like another farmer. I feel very blessed to be amongst some of the most passionate people in agriculture.
With that being said, I have to address something. The support I have gained has far outweighed any sort of negativity. Yet, I have received some. My readers will not have seen this negativity, because I won’t allow unnecessary meanness or derogatory comments on our Facebook page or in the comments of this blog. So, I need to get something off my chest in regards to this, because clearly you do not understand our farm.
When you call our farm a “factory farm that just’s pumps out animals for slaughter only for the money and without any ounce of love for the animal.” Well, you’ve just got it all wrong.
Allow me to explain..
You must have missed it when my husband spent hours away from his own family and young children to care for our pigs. How my family has had to give up outings, or time with friends and other family members because we have pigs to care for. Just because we may want to go on vacation or get time away together, doesn’t mean that we can walk away from our pigs. Our family hasn’t been away from home in several years because of our livestock, they need us and we will not be careless in their care.
When our priority upon the first arrival of our new baby pigs is their health and wellbeing. How my farmer slowly and meticulously walks through each and every pen in the hog barn, searching for a piglet that may look smaller or more timid than the others. How he carefully picks up that small piglet and carries it to a different pen, with other piglets who are more his size, and where that piglet will grow and thrive. Every morning and night he does the same thing, scanning, with a trained eye, for piglets that may need our attention more than the others. Quickly waving his hand under each and every brooder lamp to be certain that the flame is lit for the piglets to cozy up under, not once thinking about how the cost of the brooder lamps will certainly raise our propane bill during that month.
You must have missed it when I carried my own babies through the hog barns, because my toddler was too tired to walk and I had our infant in her carrier on my chest. My own babies were tired, I could have chosen to stay home with them and let the pigs go. But I did not, and will not.
How our family has become even more united through the work done daily in our hog barns. We help each other out when necessary in the others barns, never complaining that the work is too much or too hard or should solely be the work of another.
You have not heard our prayers as our baby pigs are welcomed into their new barn, the prayers for health and a life the only a pig could be happy with. You also must have missed our prayers, as our market weight pigs leave our barns. A prayer between us and our Savior, thanking Him for these pigs, for their sacrifice and praying that because of these pigs a normally hungry belly, perhaps of a young child, may be full.
When it is late at night, after we have put our own young children to bed, I am up, paying our bills. The money that is invested into our barn, to make it an ideal home for these pigs, is completely our own. Many nights, I look at my farmer and shake my head, “we are getting by, even if it’s just for this month.” Then, my farmer looks at me and says, “keep the faith my love, God will provide.” Thankful always, for his unwavering faith and confidence that someday, if not today, the hard work and sacrifice will pay off.
You have not known the history of our farm, the personal sacrifices that my farmers own parents made for their pigs in the past. As well as, the hard work and sacrifices the generation before them have had to make.
To ever think that we or any other farmer is in this business with ill will, is completely false. Everyday the work we put in, would not be done unless we loved our jobs and the animals who ultimately provided us with this job. Pigs are not pets, imagine a 280lb, incontinent, loud, messy and constantly hungry barrow in your living room. Livestock are not pets, they deserve a decent life, painless passing, and for us, as farmers to do the right thing. We do owe the animal respect, but we cannot humanize animal agriculture. Farmers do and will continue to love their animals and treat them humanely, but we cannot humanize them.