It’s not everyday you get to meet “America’s Pig Farmer of the Year” and I went all the way to a food and fact filled conference in Vienna ( it was really no trouble at all thank you!) to meet Brad Greenway.
Brad, who is a pig farmer from Mitchell, South Dakota spoke to a group of food and nutrition communicators at a conference called FoodFluence held in Austria in February.
The conference attended by many of my registered dietitian nutritionist colleagues featured fascinating, inspiring and up to the minute food and nutrition topics including farming and sustainability issues.
The chandelier festooned room of the Hotel Imperial where we held our meetings was equally inspiring!
Now back to what I learned about raising pigs today.
Brad and his wife, Peggy, own two wean-to-finish pig barns.
The Greenways have focused on doing what’s right for people, pigs and the planet on his family farm for the last 40 years. They also raise beef cattle and grow corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa.
Healthy pigs are happy pigs and happy pigs are healthy. That’s the bottom line. There’s no room and no tolerance for cruelty to animals in agriculture today. Brad Greenway addressed a few concerns people have about pig farming and now I understand why mothers are separated from their new borns and why the moms are kept away from each other after they’ve given birth.
Brad explained that sows can experience some pretty intense pregnancy and postpartum anxiety and will get into fights with each other. Keeping the mothers separated from each other in crates, protects them from bigger pigs who may get really rough with another smaller mother. Kind of like the maternity ward with private rooms.
Turns out piglets do much better in the warmer temperatures of the “nursery” where they’re kept and fed and cared for under the watchful eye of farmers and veterinarians who are specialists in raising swine. Also, just as human parents are cautioned not to sleep with newborn infants in the same bed to prevent the risk of rolling over on the little critter, the same goes for baby pigs.
Gestation & Farrowing Crates:
Animal Welfare Practices Explained
Source: US Farmers & Ranchers Alliance
-Allows pigs tube fed relative to their individual needs
-Reduces aggressive behavior (pregnant sows can get mean and will fight)
-Reduces piglet deaths (mothers can accidentally rollover on their piglets)
-Provides a cooler area for the sow and warmer area for the piglets
-Flooring keeps pigs dry which reduces the spread of disease
-Allows for more individualized and personal care for the sow
If you have more questions on how pig farming today is good for the pigs and the planet, here’s an excellent resource. The National Pork Board and its members such as Brad Greenway.
And guess what? Sorry Brad. It’s time to nominate the next American Pig Farmer of the Year! #realpigfarming #agvocate