This week has been very challenging for our family farm. During the night Sunday our area experienced tornadoes and high winds in excess of 100 mph. Our family feed mill which supplies feed for all of our hogs was in the path of destruction. We sustained heavy damage. We are physically and emotionally tired.
This morning I learned Mercy For Animals released another one of their abuse videos. Although friends knew I should stay focused on our cleanup, I did take the time out of our clean up efforts at the mill to watch this video. Many thoughts raced through my mind as I watched it. The first thought I had was “I want people to know this is NOT how we care for pigs, and it isn’t how 99.99% of farmers care for their pigs.” We do NOT tolerate abuse on our farm. We take great pride in producing healthy pigs because we know healthy animals produce healthy food. I feed my kids the same food I raise for consumers, I want it to be safe.
My husband and I shot a video on our farm a couple of years ago to show people how we raise the livestock that provides our food. I’ve been through hog farms in Iowa, Ohio, etc and while I may have seen differences in production practices, the farmers I know are just as outraged by abuse as I am and work hard to be sure their employees understand and use best practices.
The second thought that came to my mind was that I wish everyone could see a video of my community and how they are rallying around our family to help us care for our livestock. When our feed mill was damaged early this week, we had volunteer farmers, friends and family at our mill by 6:00 am trying to help. They knew we needed to fix the mill as soon as possible so we could make feed for our livestock. Many of the farmers who have come to our aid do not raise livestock, they are grain farmers. The reason I point this out is because it is a farmer’s nature to care for the livestock and land God has trusted us with. And this means helping your neighbor care for their livestock in their time of need.
We have had over 45 area farmers, neighbors and family members helping us this week. They are not being paid, they are doing this because they know our livestock need to be fed. Thanks to their help, we were making feed at our damaged mill before noon on Monday. These farmers knew that moving the grain would be a time-consuming effort and would be financially critical to our farm to be done ASAP so they brought equipment and have made this process go much better by pitching in. Now our focus is on cleaning up the damage so we can start rebuilding.
This isn’t the story that will be on YouTube by some organization with an agenda because it isn’t dramatic enough. Its simply the way the world works 99% of the time. Our story is one of farmers caring for their livestock, land and community. Our story is the REAL image of agriculture. I am proud to live in Rural America where my neighbors know when I need a helping hand. I am proud of our area farmers for coming to our aid and putting the needs of our hogs before their own farms & families. And they are doing it all for no pay, their only reward is knowing they helped us in our time of need, and they helped make sure our hogs never went without feed.
THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to all of our neighbors and fellow farmers. I hope you know our family will step up in your time of need should you ever have one.