By: Wanda Patsche

If there is one thing that is for certain, nothing stays the same in farming. As farmers, we are continually finding new and better ways to care for our animals, crops and environment. So, what does the future of pig farming look like? Well, before we look to the future, let’s look back and examine the past changes in pig farming. 

Water use, land use and carbon footprint have significantly decreased in the past 50 years. So, with the history of great accomplishments pig farmers have obtained, what does the future look like for pig farmers?

World Demand for Pork
The most consumed protein in the world is pork. As foreign, developing countries build their economies, the first thing citizens want to add to their diets is protein.

Here are some demographic trends predicted:

  • The majority of people will be living in cities.
  • Better medical care will lead to a higher life expectancy.
  • Average purchasing power per person will increase by 35 percent
  • India and China together will have a middle class consisting of 1.2 billion people more than now.

With the predicted trends, we will need to produce more food with fewer resources and at the same time be sustainable. We have a hungry world to feed. The good news is today’s pig farmers are up to the challenge. We can meet the world’s needs through new and innovative practices.

Antibiotics
Antibiotic resistance is a significant and complex problem. Pig farmers understand this. The future of pig farming will focus on ways to be more sustainable. One way pig farmers can be more sustainable is to research and develop innovative ideas on ways to care for pigs that will result in using less antibiotics. As a pig farmer, I would love to reduce, or in some cases, eliminate antibiotic usage.

How will that be accomplished? By looking at ways to prevent health problems and researching antibiotic alternatives. Antibiotic alternatives may consist of using probiotics, essential oils, enzymes, polyphenols and new feed products. I truly believe this is an exciting time to be a pig farmer because of the possibilities that lie before us.

Animal Welfare
Consumers and pig farmers alike consider animal welfare important. But unfortunately, both groups may have different views on what is best for the animal. Pig farmers will continue to find better ways to care for their animals –just like they have been doing for years. But perhaps, more importantly, is communicating with consumers about how farmers care for animals, and why they do what they do. It’s imperative that farmers communicate the new and better ways they provide better care for their animals.

Continuous Improvement
Farmers will continue to improve their practices. There are numerous resources available to help farmerskeep abreast of new and improved animal care practices. Pig farmers use online agriculture resources, consult with veterinarians and animal nutritionists, attend workshops and continuing education classes such as PQA+ and TQA+, and read trade magazines. All of these sources help pig farmers continue to improve now and in the future,

October is Pork Month
In recognition of October being National Pork Month, I would like to share a pork recipe that is a family favorite. I love this recipe because it is so easy and simple. It’s great for working moms because you let the crock pot do all the work. It freezes well so you can enjoy sandwiches when you have little time to prepare a meal. Just unthaw and warm it up. And as a farmer, I really love pulled pork because they make great tasting sandwiches we can eat in the field. Pulled pork is so versatile because you can enjoy it as a topping for baked potatoes or nachos. Enjoy!

To read the full blog post and get a great pork recipe from Wanda Patsche, visit http://www.mnfarmliving.com/.
 
Wanda is part of U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance's Digital Voices Council. To learn more about the program and bloggers who participate, click here.