#RealPigFarming unites pig farmers, academics, youth, veterinarians and allied industry members to talk about pig farming. There are many different ways to raise pigs and #RealPigFarming celebrates all farmers and how they choose to raise their pigs. The most important things are that the pigs are well cared for, measures on the farm ensure food safety and the practices are environmentally sustainable.
Jan Archer, Goldsboro, North Carolina, was recently elected vice-president of the National Pork Board. She sat down with the #RealPigFarming team to tell us a little bit more about her and her family’s farm.
RPF: Tell me about yourself – what’s your background in the agriculture industry?
Jan: I didn’t grow up on a farm. I discovered my love for pig farming while attending Michigan State University. After graduating from College I went to work for Dekalb Swine Breeders in Southwest Kansas. I met and married my husband. Together we moved to Pennsylvania, Singapore and North Carolina, always working with pigs. In 1992 we built our farm. We have two children, Jay and Anne who grew up working on the farm. My son now manages another farm in North Carolina and our daughter and her husband have recently moved closer to home.
RPF: Tell me about your farm.
Jan: Today we have 1,200 sows on our farm. We raise pigs from when they are born (farrowed) until they are weaned. We also raise corn, soybeans and hay.
RPF: What is the biggest challenge you face with pig farming?
Jan: The challenges change, daily. Right now, I would say our biggest challenge is controlling diseases. Our farm, like so many others in our area, was hit with PEDV. It was a devastating loss both financially and emotionally.
RPF: Why do you enjoy raising pigs?
Jan: I have always loved working with animals and pigs have always been fun for our family to raise. Pigs respond to the care they receive. We have records to verify that we are meeting their needs and thriving. It’s gratifying to see 600 healthy pigs that are weaned every week.
RPF: What are your goals for the future?
Jan: We have a four-month-old grandson and a granddaughter on the way. Our goals are simple. We want to pass our farm onto the next generation. We want our grandchildren to learn about how to care for animals, how to care for the land and how to work hard until a job is done.
RPF: In your opinion, what’s the most exciting thing about being in the pork industry?
Jan: The pork industry is in the cutting edge of animal care and sustainability. I am privileged to be part of the discussions that pig farmers have about how they can improve animal care, increase our level of sustainability and environmental responsibility, ensure public health and contribute to a better quality of life in our communities. It’s exciting to see how excited and focused pig farmers are and they are willing to “Walk the Talk” by putting their hard earned dollars into these efforts.
RPF: How do you demonstrate animal care on your farm?
Jan: Everyone on our farm is PQA Plus® certified. Animal Care is the lynchpin of everything we do. It helps that our employees are animal lovers who take their responsibility very seriously. We also have a veterinarian who comes to the farm every month to make sure that our animals are healthy and well cared for. Our family, our Employees and our veterinarian are all members of our animal care team.