Meat

A Day on a Pig Farm

Sponsored
December 15, 2015

We've partnered with the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (read more here) to share stories of, in a series of videos, what it's like to run a farm or ranch in the U.S. today.  

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.

Shop the Story

"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.

Video by Vacation

What would you ask a pig farmer? Share your questions in the comments.

We've partnered with the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (read more here) to share stories of, in a series of videos, what it's like to run a farm or ranch in the U.S. today.  

9 Comments

galbraith December 23, 2015
Was Food52 compensated by the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, Monsanto, DuPont, or any of USFRA's other constituent organizations or industry partners for these posts?
 
breakbread December 18, 2015
Over the summer, Food52 readers were encouraged to submit questions to help support and develop a series of articles on farming and ranching. I don't see how this first article begins to address any specific question that was posted. Unfortunately, based on this blog, I'm thinking those questions have been put aside. I hope I'm wrong and that there is more depth to this series than just PR for large-scale farms and ranches.
 
Samantha W. December 22, 2015
Hi breakbread, <br />Thank you for reading and commenting. We really appreciate and value your feedback and concerns.<br /><br />We actually brought the questions asked on the Hotline to the farmers when we met them—and we very much valued the contributions, and the farmers did too. Our conversations, sparked by those initial questions, led to the videos we're sharing.
 
therese December 17, 2015
Thank you Food 52 for sharing these stories with us. Farmers and ranchers have a dedication to their product that many people couldn't even begin to fathom. From people who create beautiful bowls and cake stands for our kitchen, to the producers who work tirelessly to help bring food to our tables - thank you for bringing stories to us from all aspects.
 
Barb December 16, 2015
http://www.cornucopia.org/2015/12/antibiotic-use-on-farms-is-up-despite-promises-to-kick-the-drugs/<br />
 
Linda December 16, 2015
Cruel and inhumane!!
 
Quinn December 16, 2015
This may be the case with the farm you visited, but the majority of pig and other meat farms are not this wonderful. When you say, "Now when I buy a piece of pork at the grocery store...I realize how much work and individual care and how many people went in to getting that piece of pork to me," this is not the case in most meat you're getting at the average grocery store.
 
Betsey December 16, 2015
Seriously. I don't come here for to read the meat industry's propaganda. "Only use antibiotics as needed" is a laughable statement.
 
Samantha W. December 22, 2015
Thank you, Quinn and Betsey, for reading and commenting. We really appreciate and value your feedback and concerns.<br /><br />Our intent working with USFRA was always to learn more about the people who work on four different farms and ranches. This particular partnership gave us the opportunity to visit these farms and learn more about the daily work and experiences of the people who both live and work on the farms (which many people don't get a chance to see)—so we really appreciated the opportunity to take a peek into one very specific part of our food system. We also look forward to more projects of this nature, where we hope to visit farms of all scales and practices in the future.