I am often asked if we really eat the hogs that we raise. It seems the anti-farm crowd is trying to scare consumers into thinking that hogs raised in climate-controlled barns are not worth eating. They want you to believe that animals raised eating grass instead of the grain based diet we feed means they are better for you.
I disagree. The hogs on our farm eat a mixture of corn, soybean meal and nutrients. We can monitor their nutrition needs and provide feed based on their needs and age of the pig. Our younger pigs get a different feed than our older pigs. The company we buy feed from provides us a “nutritionist” that helps us develop the best feed plan for our animals. He is on one of our farms at least twice a week. He walks through our barns and inspects the animals, looking for pigs that might be underweight or those that need a bit more nutrition. And he helps us develop a plan for them.
So I know what my pigs eat. If my pigs were out in grass, they would be eating bugs, larvae, grass, dirt, and whatever else they could find. Pigs are curious animals and will eat anything. Growing up, I remember throwing “slop” to our sows (pregnant mother pigs) that we kept in outside lots. And those pigs would sometime give birth outside, lay on their litters and kill them before we could get to them. Now that all of our animals are inside, we can closely monitor each one and provide individual nutrition plans if they need it.
So do I eat the meat we raise on our farm? You bet I do! And you may too. If you purchase Indiana Kitchen bacon at the grocery store, those hogs could be from my farm. That packing facility is just an hour from my farm and it’s where we sell a lot of our hogs. Those hogs are processed into a local bacon that you can buy in your grocery store for an affordable price. Some of my farmer friends sell to other facilities, like Tyson. Another local pork product you can find in major retail grocery stores.
In upcoming weeks, I’ll show you pictures of our family butchering a hog over Christmas break. And how we make lard, cracklins and popcorn from the pig. Nothing gets wasted. Because I’m not afraid to eat what we raise on the farm!