Pig Stories Untold

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Real pig farmingWhether we admit it or not, research tells us as people want to hear negative news stories. Think about it. What types of stories are covered in the news, both traditional TV news and Internet news? Our human nature wants to click on these stories, read the gory or appalling details about these “terrible” stories. Some days you wonder what is becoming of our world. I have to admit, it can be really, really annoying at times. And because bad news stories help media ratings, many positive voices and stories are not heard. Well, I want to change that and share with you a pig story untold. 

Background information.

For those of you that don’t live in the midwest, our gravel roads (yes, I live on a gravel road) normally “breakup” in the early spring. What does “breakup” mean and why does it happen?

We typically have very cold winters and everything freezes hard. In the spring, as the gravel roads are unthawing, we have spots on the gravel roads where there are frost boils. Frost boils create very soft and muddy areas on the road. Typically, you can see them from a distance and drivers slow down to navigate through them. The “frost boil season” doesn’t last long but we deal with them nearly every spring to some degree. 

The last little bit of background information before I tell you our story. We are part owners of a sow farm. Our sow farm is where female pigs are bred, gestate (pregnancy) and farrow (give birth). Our breeding stock comes from another farm that specifically raises female breeding stock. That farm is located in Canada.

Late one rainy night, our sow farm had a semi-truck load of female pig breeding stock arrive at the farm from Canada. Unfortunately, because of the frost boil conditions and rain, the driving surfaces (roads and farm sites) were in terrible condition. So terrible that vehicles were getting stuck because of the muddy state of the driving surfaces. And that’s exactly what happened to this semi-truck. The semi became stuck and could not back up to the barn to unload the animals.

So now what? These pigs could not wait until the next day to be unloaded. 

Desperation

Because we have managers on this farm, we didn’t know the specifics of the arrival of these pigs until we received this email from the sow farm manager. This is the exact email, with the exception of the text in green (which are my notes for clarification) and names have been changed. 

Last week new gilts arrived at isolation (sow farm site for new breeding stock), the truck was late arriving due to being detained at the border and when it first arrived it got stuck at the isolation site due to the frost boil in the ground. After several calls to local businesses, I ended up calling “Bill” and “Joe” (Joe and Bill are neighbors). They came out at 1:30 am with a tractor and got the trailer loose after several attempts. Then the driver told us he could not get to the chute (chute is used to help animals move into the barn) so I started to call employees in to work so we could carry the pigs in. However, “Bill” and “Joe” got the driver partly in to the chute so we, with panels and planks, could get the pigs in to the barn. Their help was highly appreciated.

Think about this email for a moment.

Neighbors showed up when the rest of us were sleeping. Employees were called and would have come to work and carried those animals into the barn, through the mud, during the middle of the night.

This is a story no one hears.

This is real pig farming.

Was a video or pictures taken as this story was unfolding? No.

No one gave it a second thought that they should take a picture or video. They had work to do–they had to find a way to unload those animals. There was no hidden agenda. People were simply doing their job. Neighbors were helping neighbors in a desperate situation.

And it’s as simple as that.

They all knew these animals had been on the truck for a very long time and needed to get them into a warm and dry environment with feed and water. And for that, I am truly thankful and appreciative. 

And . . . these are the pig stories no one hears. This is what happens “behind closed doors” or should I say . . . “during the middle of the night.” 

Unfortunately, we have individuals and organizations that don’t want you to hear these stories either. They do not want you to hear the vast majority of people do care about farm animals and are willing to go up and above the call of duty to care for these animals. They use words like “factory farms” and “Big Ag” so you don’t associate farming with people who care. Their agenda is to abolish animal agriculture or at least greatly reduce it. I bring this to your attention so you are aware of the animal rights’ hidden agenda and realize there are many untold stories of animal care just like the one you just read. 

Want to hear more about Real Pig Farming and other pig stories untold? 

Women in Pig Farming 

Meet the Legends of #Real Pig Farming

Meet the Real Pig Farmers of America

 

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6 Comments on Pig Stories Untold

  1. avatar
    Aileen says:
    May 3, 2016

    So interesting, Wanda! Thanks so much for these stories and getting to know the *other* side.

  2. avatar
    Pamela Shank says:
    May 3, 2016

    I always am amazed by your stories. I find them so interesting and people truly have no idea what all goes on.

    • avatar
      May 3, 2016

      Thank you and you are right about not many people know what is going on in the ag world. There are less than 2% of us who farm and we are little outnumbered. 🙂 Have a great day!

  3. avatar
    Pat says:
    May 6, 2016

    Wish more of your pig stories would make the front page. I am from the midwest, live in Switzerland, and my kids are in Minnesota, so I am glad to be connected to your farm now via the boulevard. My brother in law farms in Illinois and I know what a labor of love farming is.

    • avatar
      May 6, 2016

      Thanks Pat! And that is why I write about these stories.

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