Last Thursday (Sept. 12), more than 30 people from all walks of life boarded a bus in Nevada to take a tour of Story County’s pork industry.
“Pigs, Producers & Pork,” hosted by the Story County Pork Producers, was a chance to give people a better understanding of what pig farmers do to care for the pigs they raise. Dave Moody, of Nevada, current president of the Story County Pork Producers, said it was important to show people that Story County pig farmers “provide the safest, highest quality pork for the consumer while protecting the environment and bettering our communities while we do it.”
Moody said that while not everyone invited took part, invitations went out to the Governor, Secretary of Ag, DNR director, senators and representatives from Story County, ISU leadership, County Supervisors, county department directors, all city council members and mayors in the county, school board members and superintendents, bankers and supervisors from the counties around Story County.
“We had a mix from all of these areas that took part in the tour,” he said following the event. “We had many responses that it looked like a great event and (they) would like to come but they already had plans for [something else] that they had to go to. Those that came on the tour were all from Story County, plus a Dallas county supervisor.”
Tour participants boarded a bus at the Story County Fairgrounds in Nevada and then traveled together to Swine Genetics International near Cambridge, to H & K Enterprises at Nevada and to Maxwell Farms, north of Maxwell.
“The three stops were all [showing] different areas of pork production,” Moody explained. “SGI, a boar stud operation, was showing the advancement in technology in one area of the industry so that the best genetic can be used by many with artificial insemination. H&K is a sow farm that includes all phases of pork production, where we were able to talk about everything involved in one spot. Maxwell farms is a wean to finish site.”
Moody said the places were visited in the order listed for biosecurity reasons. “We were able to talk about biosecurity and why it is so important to keeping pigs healthy,” he said.
At the end of the tour, about 75 people, including the tour participants, showed up for a meal at Maxwell Farms that was sponsored by Prestage Farms and Hog Slat. Members of the Nevada and Collins-Maxwell FFA chapters helped to serve the meal. Wyatt Lewis, Nevada FFA’s state champion pork loin cook was in charge of the meat for the meal.
Moody said this is the first time a tour like this has been done by the Story County Pork Producers and he said the organization will likely plan something similar in the future to help “city neighbors” understand what pig farmers do on the farm and why.
“We were very happy with the responses we got from participants,” he said. “(There were) a lot of, ‘Wow, I did not know all of the things you do and why, information overload,’ or ‘Things have changed a lot from when I was a kid on the farm, thanks for the information,’ comments.”
Having this type of educational event was important to the Story County Pork Producers board. “We felt the need to get a group of this type of people together to tell the industry story and help them to learn more first-hand about what we do in our operations every day to provide a well-protected environment for the pigs while protecting the whole environment as we do that.”
Story County Pork Producers were also happy to provide some information about the economic value of pork production to the community.
“Were were able to show how we are connected to many other businesses to get our job done on the farm. And, as much as anything, (this event) was to put a face on pork production and let others know that we would be happy to talk to them about pig farming any time they have a question,” Moody said.