Today: Our Design & Home editor Amanda Sims visited Brenneman Pork Farm in Iowa to find out a little more about what it's really like to be a pig farmer.
Remember back in September, when we shared some photos of the Food52 team members delivering piglets in Iowa? Amanda Sims, our Design & Home editor, said she had the time of her life that day: She delivered those piglets, toured Brenneman Pork Farm in Washington, Iowa, and spent a whole day in a pig farmer's shoes. Farmer Erin Brenneman walked Amanda through the farm, showing her the state-of-the-art facilities and telling her more about how they care for pigs from their very first day.
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"They're able to give individual care to all the animals, which is sort of mind-boggling," said Amanda—mind-boggling, because the farm is quite large, with more animals being born every day. Amanda was also struck by their practicality: "It's in their best interest to raise healthy animals, and antibiotics are expensive. It's just like with kids. You don't want your kid to get sick, because then you have to pay for the kid to get better." Better cared-for animals are healthier; antibiotics are used only as absolutely needed.
And it was obvious, Amanda told me, how clear the farmers' care for each animal was. Their thoughtfulness for the entire process was striking: "They grow corn, process it, and feed that to the pigs," she said, "and then harvest the pigs' manure, and plant the fresh crop of corn in that. It's a total circle-of-life thing. It's very sustainable."
It was this careful attention that really stuck with her. "Now when I buy a piece of pork at the grocery store," she said, "I realize how much work and individual care and how many people went in to getting that piece of pork to me. And that's pretty cool."
Let the farmers speak for themselves—and learn more about what they really do—by watching the video.