Animal Care Important — All Day and Night

Keith Schoettmer - America's Pig Farmer of the Year

When asked to talk about why animal care is important to me, I admittedly get a little stuck. Not because it’s not important, but because it’s so important. Animal care is everything. It’s why we’re in this business, and why we do every little thing we do.

There are days when at 2 p.m. I could have been at work for twelve hours already. You see, we have alarms in each of our pig barns. The alarms tell us when the temperature gets outside of what we’ve determined is the perfect, most comfortable range for each life stage.

But since heaters and fans occasionally fail, these alarms allow us to know immediately and do something about it.

Early one morning this winter, one of those alarms went off, indicating that it was a couple of degrees cooler than perfect in one of the barns. Now, nothing bad is going to happen at that temperature — the pigs just weren’t experiencing their perfect climate. It’s as if you like to sleep with your home at 68 degrees and temporarily it dropped to 66 in your bedroom. You probably wouldn’t even wake up.

But these pigs’ comfort is so important to us, we were out there immediately, despite the well-below-zero wind chills. The heater was repaired, the pigs stayed comfortable, and all was well.

Unfortunately, pig farming isn’t a job with flex time, so I didn’t get to call it a day at 10 a.m. But what I do get is time spent caring for animals, which makes it the best job on earth.