Today we feature another one of our amazing ladies that happens to also be a pig farmer as part of our National Pork Month celebration… Miss Jeanette from FenceRow To FenceRow.
I am the 4th generation to be farming with my family. My great-grandfather started our farm many, many years ago. At that time, the farm raised and grew a little bit of everything. As my Grandpa, uncle and Dad took over, we became diversified. We concentrated on growing a few things and doing it well. We now raise corn, soybeans, wheat and a lot of hogs!
But the amazing thing through all of this, we only lost a handful of animals. In a barn that houses hundreds of sows and baby pigs, we lost 12. That’s it. They were safe in gestation crates that kept them from blowing away in the 165mph winds that blew back sheet metal like it was paper.
The same could not be said for the disaster we had this summer. On the morning of my Farmer’s birthday, we had a terrible storm. A small pocket of red on the weather radar had planted itself over the top of our farm. And there was lightening. Alot of it. It wasn’t too long into the storm that the phone rang. If your phone rings at 4:30am, it can never be good news. This time it was the alarm company telling us the temperatures in one of the barns was hot. Remember we have alarms on our barns. It the temperatures in the hog barns get too cold or hot, we get called and we head out to check them. No matter what time of day. So my Farmer headed outside, just in time to see flames shooting from the barn behind our house.
Within minutes we had fire departments from every small town within a 20 mile radius trying to save some part of our barn. It didn’t take long to realize the part of the barn that was on fire was a complete loss.
The silver lining was that the fantastic volunteer firemen saved the other parts of the barn. So only one section of the barn burnt.
However, this part of the barn housed our sows, female pigs who were either pregnant or were going to be pregnant soon. It also had our boars. The boars are the guy pigs who are responsible for the sows being pregnant! Essentially we lost the genetics for this barn.
I can’t even begin to explain the helpless feeling of watching a barn on fire and not being able to rescue those animals. I cried. My Farmer cried. It is gut-wrenching.
It is still a lifestyle we fight to save. Because I can’t imagine living any other way. And my husband wouldn’t trade the hours, headaches and heartache for any other career. Natural disasters can take away hog barns, but it cannot take away the determination to survive and the desire to help feed the world.