I want to respond to the letter “Pig barns bad for Sibley County” in the July 24 issue of the Leader.
I don’t live in that county, but I am a third-generation pig farmer in Faribault County and letters like that, which are full of misinformation, hurt the industry as a whole.
Antibiotics do not leech into the groundwater from the pigs. Antibiotics are not even found in meat and are not misused. There is no possible way, or we would lose the ability to sell our meat product.
Pigs are not going to deplete the water source. Pigs drink water just like any other animal, and the only other thing we use water for is to wash a barn. That happens approximately two times a year in a finisher barn, and a little more often in a farrowing barn and nursery, but the sizes of those buildings are significantly smaller. So what is the reasoning behind saying the water will be depleted?
And the smell? Well, this person is living in rural America, so I would say that’s part of small town living where livestock are raised and crops are grown.
I understand pig farming has changed over the years into bigger barns and bigger sites. That doesn’t mean it has turned bad. Farmers are less than 2 percent of the population, and it is still our duty to feed the rest of the population.
My grandpa originally raised our pigs outside and in pastures, and he says he would never go back to the way it was. We can do such a better job managing manure, temperatures, predators and so on the way it is now. It is much safer for the farmer, piglets and sows as it decreases fighting and so on.
We follow rules with how much manure is applied to our field. There are rules and withdrawals we have to follow in regards to antibiotics, and when we load out hogs to go to market, we don’t overload the semis and so forth. It is no different than semis of grain driving on the roads during harvest time.
If anyone has more questions, I would encourage you to reach out to a farmer in order for us to share the truth about the way we farm today. We as farmers work extremely hard to care for our land and livestock, as that is our livelihood. If we don’t care for it, we will lose it.