Mmmmmm....bacon (said in your best Homer Simpson voice).
Please tell me you've seen the t-shirts that say Peace, Love and Bacon? And what about those little e-cards on Facebook that say something witty about bacon? And what about bacon on ice cream? Have you heard of this?
Obviously, our society has a love of bacon.
Unfortunately, also our society has a hatred of large scale producers, and, thus, the efficient, safe, scientific way to effectively raise hogs on a large scale to help Americans continue their love with bacon.
I just read on Prairie Farmer's Facebook page that Purdue University's Chris Hurt (who has been on Purdue's faculty since 1981, teaching mainly undergraduate livestock and meat marketing...who I am considering credible, because, for pity's sake, he had to do his thesis on something in regards to MEAT!), projects that "by this spring the U.S. hog industry will have lost $3 billion in equity."
Prairie Farmer's reaction: "Ouch!"
As in 3 billion dollars.
And here's the deal... high feed costs (which bodes well for a grain farmer, not so well for those who buy corn) are already causing crazy costs for those who produce hogs. While the demand for pork is still high, there are still folks out there who don't understand the hog industry who are fighting for a lot of the mandates and crushing regulations and even refusal to purchase hogs from confinement operations. Generally speaking, these mandates and, well, crazy loud anti-confinement people base their opinion on emotion, not science.
Restaurants like Burger King, Chipolte, etc. are refusing to buy hogs raised in gestational crates (which don't google that, ask a real hog farmer what it means...because I did google its definition and boy do I regret it.). You've probably heard it, and that's fine to still go there, we're just a little ouchy about it because that means that my father in law has lost out on business because of these folks.
Is it probably not humane to put someone in a crate, yes. But, it's not A HUMAN. It's a HOG, who, research says, likes the feeling of being closed in. There's a science to it, and I don't have much knowledge in it, but knowing what my father in law does to keep his hogs safe, healthy, and happily producing so you can eat your bacon with your eggs (which, don't even get me started on eggs...oy), I know that he is doing nothing but the best for his animals, often times at the sacrifice of his comfort for his hogs. And mine..because sometimes he's late for a family dinner because of chores, and I get cranky when I'm hungry.
Honestly, friends, let's let the experts do the mandating. You don't see me walking around telling a surgeon, where to cut. I won't be fixing any plumbing issues...that's for a plumber. I try to not even tell my hairdresser what to do...she went to school to cut hair...I just have it, what do I know about cutting it? We all are good at something, and most likely passionate about it, so let those who are truly in the thick of it make the decisions.
That way, you can have your bacon, whether you sprinkle it on your salad or your ice cream!
Emily, a town girl plunked out in the middle of nowhere, chronicles the surprises she's found living life with her husband and four children on a working grain and livestock farm in Farmington, IL. Confessions of a Farm Wife: The Good, TheBad, and The Dirty Truth of Life on the Gravel Road allows Emily, a former teacher, to use her educational expertise to share the truth about food and farmers to consumers everywhere. As a Farm Mom with the Illinois Farm Families campaign, Emily has enjoyed one on one experiences with city moms, fielding questions from fashion to fertilizer.
Photo courtesy of The 50's Diner in Peoria.