Ask Pork Questions to Feed the Hungry

Do you have any questions about how pork is raised? Share them here and you’ll be helping to feed hungry families.

I’ll be headed to Ohio in a few weeks along with a few other bloggers as a guest of the National Pork Board. We’ll be traveling to the Wuebker Farm to learn about the sustainability measures they have implemented in the breeding and raising of pigs. As a fan of bacon, pork tenderloin, and pork roasts, I’m excited yet apprehensive about getting up close and personal with the other white meat.

This guy may be cute… but along with hundreds of his brothers and sisters in the July heat, he may provide me with a smell experience I’ll never forget.

I have a feeling that there will be no straw in sight in the hog farms I’ll be visiting. So many of our mental images about farms are romanticized.

Learning more about our food supply through first hand visits of farms is something I’m passionate about, and I’m looking forward to learning about another form of agriculture in addition to the dairy and corn visits I’ve been on. Hog farming, like many other crops, has stirred up some heated debate, and I can’t wait to hear the farmers discuss:

  • whether they use antibiotics to speed up growth,
  • why restaurants now offer to cook pork to medium rare and how trichinosis was eradicated in US pigs,
  • if pork has become leaner in recent years,
  • if they use farrowing crates to separate the piglets from the sows,
  • if they use gestational crates to confine pregnant sows,
  • how they protect the ground water from the waste their pigs produce,
  • what else has been done both at their farm and in the industry to reduce the carbon footprint.
farrowing crate
These piglets are separated from their mother by a farrowing crate.

In advance of the trip, the Pork Board would love to get some discussion and questions going on our blogs and Twitter streams. What questions would you like me to ask the farmers? For every question shared, the Pork Checkoff will donate a pound of pork to the Ohio Food Bank, up to 1,000 pounds. They’ve also shared this infographic on the improvements in sustainability which have been made to date. Take a look, let me know your thoughts, feelings, reactions. Let’s start talking, questioning, and thinking about where that bacon comes from.

When was the last time a question you asked worth a pound of food? Leave a comment with a question about pork, and you’ll help feed a hungry family.

11 Responses to Ask Pork Questions to Feed the Hungry

  1. Also on Facebook, Erin Russ Scherzer asked, “Such a great idea! My question, “bacon is one of my favorite foods, but it gets a bad wrap. Is there anything I should look for when I buy bacon in terms of how the pig was raised to be a bit healthier?”. Eat turkey bacon isn’t an option – it doesn’t taste the same :)”

  2. I love pork, and the pigs are adorable, but yes.. stinky. I don’t know that I could eat pork medium rare though.. maybe it’s been drilled into my brain that it has to be thoroughly cooked.

    I don’t have any other questions.. other than what’s already been asked/listed above. I would worry that undercooking pork would not be good for us though.. would love that addressed.

  3. Vanessa, thanks for doing this. My heart aches for animals kept in those conditions, and I wonder how the industry is leading change. For example, I hear the claim that if gestation crates were phased out, the mother would squish her babies. But smaller producers tell me that mothering instinct had been bred out of industrial/confinement breeds and that it would not be that difficult to breed in the other direction with a result in better animal welfare. My dream is for industry to educate people about why animal foods should cost more rather than employing tactics to make it cheaper. Can’t wait to hear what you’ve learned – ask questions!

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