INDIANAPOLIS — Due to biosecurity concerns, it’s not easy
for consumers to visit pig farms in person.
That’s why producers are sharing their stories and photos
online, via Facebook and Twitter, as part of the #RealPigFarming campaign. The
movement was started this summer by the Pork Checkoff.
“We have around 20 producers and students who go online and
post pictures and statuses about everyday life on a pig farm,” said Shawnie
Wagner, Pork Checkoff intern.
“The goal is to inform consumers and answer questions they
may have. There are a lot of misconceptions about antibiotic use and abuse. We
have quality assurance, so everyone is trained from the time that pig is born
until it is unloaded at market. Everyone in the industry is trained.”
Wanda Patsche is an active part of the social media
campaign. She and her husband raise hogs in southern Minnesota.
When they started their business, the animals were free
range — they lived outside.
Due to cold weather and other concerns, they made the
decision to build barns for the animals. The decision was for the best. The pigs
are happier and more content, Patsche said.
“We can provide each animal with individual care this way,”
she said. “We can control feed portions, administer individual medicine and they
no longer fight each other.”
Patsche has encountered consumer misconceptions in her
career — from hormones, which aren’t used on their farm, to antibiotic use,
which is only administered to sick animals and is out of their system before the
pig is sold to market.
“We eat the same product that we sell to Hormel,” she said.
“We would never sell something that wasn’t good enough for our family.”
She shares her story through blogs and social media. Visit
www.facebook.com/messages/MinnesotaFarmer or www.facebook.com/RealPigFarming to