Pork Producers Care

My pigs loved to get attention. Although my pigs were 4-H projects for the county fair, they still were harvested for meat at the end of the fair and entered into the food chain. My pigs, like pigs across the US are cared for from birth until harvest!

My pigs loved to get attention. Although my pigs were 4-H projects for the county fair, they still were harvested for meat at the end of the fair and entered into the food chain. My pigs, like pigs across the US are cared for from birth until harvest!

My dad often says, “I know more about my animal’s health records, medications and diet than I know about my own children’s health records.” Most people would be shocked by that statement; how could a father not know about his own children’s medical records and diets? That statement shows just how much farmers care. They don’t have an occupation in which you leave the office and forget about the week’s work. My dad works with our nutritionist to make sure our pigs are on the right diet and our veterinarian to ensure they are getting any antibiotics for health problems. My dad and other farmers are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Farmers receive certification and abide by the, “we care” motto, making sure they care for their animals, the environment, community and food safety. They continue to receive education that will help them provide the best possible care for animals and they work with veterinarians and nutritionists to make sure their hogs are receiving the best care possible at all times.

Farmers and other people involved in pork production ensure animal well-being, worker and food safety all the time. Their occupation is unique because they aren’t able to forget about work when they go home at the end of the day, they are concerned for the well-being of their animals all the time. All individuals in the pork supply chain play an important role in responsible pork production because all individuals care. We Care

I learned the importance of this during the summers of my youth, my siblings and I were pretend farmers. We had animals for the county and state fair and we would wake up when the chickens started crowing, trounce out to the barn to lead, walk, wash and fed all the hogs. Yes, getting animals ready for the fair is a bit different than a production farm, but farmers on production farms care for their animals all the same. They have health records, know their production numbers and are prepared to nurture them just like their own children.

Pork producers go beyond just caring for their animals though. The pork industry developed a producer education and certification program to ensure U.S. pork products are safe, high quality and animals are raised in a way ensuring their well-being. Many pork farmers are PQA Plus (Pork Quality Assurance Plus) trained. This training provides farmers with additional tools and knowledge to help them to properly take care of their animals.

As I was growing up, I compared the way I treated my pigs and the way many farmers treat their animals to how humans treat their children. I always found it interesting that parents don’t need certification and there are no inspections before children can be brought home. Pig farmers are encouraged to be PQA Plus trained; veterinarians and nutritionists visit the farms often and the We Care program ties sustainability, education and animal well-being all together. It’s okay that my dad knows more about my hogs medical and food needs than mine, because it shows the dedication that farmers have to their animals’ well-being and the safety of the product they produce.

I look forward to going to the grocery store knowing that I will have healthy, safe, and nutritious pork products to purchase. I know that the animals were well taken care of from start to finish, farmers work with veterinarians and nutritionists to keep hogs healthy, workers to keep farms safe, and environmental groups help to ensure sustainability. I trust in pork farmers and know I will have safe products to eat. Please join me in enjoying pork products in your next meal in celebration of National Pork Month!

First Memories Create a Burning Passion

As I think back on my life, I have always been involved in agriculture so picking just one memory or my first memory is a challenge. One of my most vivid memories is of Christmas as a young child. My family likes to give each other unique gifts, however the Griswold Family Christmas Eve was quite interesting this year.

The previous summer we had gone on vacation out west and stopped in Custer State Park. In Custer, there are wild donkeys and visitors are directed and asked not to feed the donkeys. However, the animals like to come up to the windows and love eating corn chips and Cheetos. My younger brother, sister and I all fell in love with the donkeys, but never expected to get one on Christmas Eve.

When we came home from church, both of my parents directed us down to the barn, since the light had been left on. We all entered cautiously, but were pushing my mother to go in first. You see, we were in on a secret too. For my Mom’s Christmas present, we had purchased some sheep. When she was a child and showed animals in 4-H, she showed sheep. Once she went to college she sold her sheep. The man who bought her sheep kept her herd registered separately. We were able to purchase some of the decedents from her original herd of sheep. As we pushed my mom into the barn, she pushed us in and my dad followed with a smile on his face. I think he was just excited we all made it and nobody found out about the secrets before they were supposed to! As we entered the barn we saw the sheep and in another pen was our baby donkey. It was an exciting Christmas Eve!

This is Sara, my sister with some of the newest lambs. Even years later we still have decedents of my mothers heard.

This is Sara, my sister with some of the newest lambs. Even years later we still have decedents of my mothers heard.


Later that evening my mom asked my brother, around 4 years old at the time what we should name the donkey. Since we got him for Christmas she suggested we name him something Christmas related. My innocent, little brother quickly spoke up and recommended the name Jesus for the donkey. My parents couldn’t hold in their laughter, but quickly decided that we couldn’t name our ass, Jesus. We later decided on the name King.
King the donkey isn't so little anymore. He still enjoys to be pet and he always loves it when we bring him apples!

King the donkey isn’t so little anymore. He still enjoys to be pet and he always loves it when we bring him apples!


I encourage you to share family memories involving agriculture. These stories don’t have to be extravagant Christmas memories; they can be simple day to day happenings on the farm. The personal stories and connections we share help our consumers connect with us on a personal basis and provide an outlet for them to ask questions. The next time you have a fun picture, story or even quote, I encourage you to blog, tweet, instagram and facebook them. The conversation starts today and doesn’t end until consumers are satisfied!