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The Answer Includes Women. We’ve all heard it. With less than 2 percent of the United State’s population directly involved with production agriculture, we have to share our story with consumers about what farmers do. This is especially important since the majority of Americans are removed from the farm. ...
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Briefly introduce yourself: 

My name is Chris Fischbacher, and I’m 32 years old. Ilive in Wildorado, Texas. I have been married for 7 years to my wife, Steelee, and we have two kids, Mattlee and Case. I started raising pigs when I was a kid in 4-H, and I have been doing it full-time since 2011. We currently have about 50 sows and a dozen boars. We primarily raise crosses and Yorks, but we also have a few Spots, Durocs and Berks.

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To celebrate National Pork Month, fondly known as PORKtober, the Showpig.com team is catching up with some “agvocates” to learn how we can all better represent the swine industry. This week we have tips from Thomas Titus of Elkhart, Illinois. Thomas operates Tri Pork Inc as well as a purebred showpig operation, RBC Chesters. He is former Face of Farming and Ranching for the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance as well as a #realpigfarming advocate for the National Pork Board giving tips on how to best build impactful consumer relationships. So there I was in a back seat of a Yellow Cab in New York City on the way to a salon dinner to talk about how we care for our animals and land. However, the important conversation was not with the dieticians, chefs or food influencers, it was with Shishko, the NYC cab driver who did not know a farmer, but cared about where his food comes from and was looking for more than an answer from Google. Consumers like Shishko, are not looking for a professor or scientist, they are looking for someone just like you who. Someone who has an undeniable passion for animal care. No matter your background, upbringing or exposure to agriculture, we  all have a common bond to each and every person we encounter. WE ALL LOVE FOOD, and in the spirit of Porktober here are 4 tips to consider when taking that scary dive into food conversations!...
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Collegiate livestock judging is equivalent to Sunday night football for stockmen and women, and the National Barrow Show (NBS) is the swine enthusiast's Super Bowl. Will Taylor of Western Illinois University (WIU) just had the honor of topping the reasons division at NBS. The Showpig.com team caught up with Will, and he was kind enough to offer us these tips to help you rock the reasons room. Be Confident – This is easily the most important part of having a successful day in the reasons room. You have to believe in what you say and sell it to the best of your ability. My coaches at WIU, Dr. Mark Hoge and Hayden Wilder, always tell us the goal of reasons is to get the listener to hand you their checkbook and allow you to pick out their livestock. This means you must make the listener believe you are knowledgeable and capable of being a stockman right beside them....
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It’s PORKtober! In honor of National Pork Month, the Showpig.com team is learning what #realpigfarming means to those in our industry. We caught up with Team Purebred President Jordan Monier to see how the swine industry has shaped his life.

 

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Briefly introduce yourself: Jeff Meeker - Boar Stud & Showpig Manager of Meeker Showpigs Location: Forest City, IL...
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Briefly introduce yourself: Jeff Meeker - Boar Stud & Showpig Manager of Meeker Showpigs Location: Forest City, IL...
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Kirk Swanson is known for having a gift when it comes to breeding a selecting livestock. His talents created the legendary sire Hillbilly Bone. If you ask Kirk about his industry success, he will be quick to tell you it’s due to many lessons he learned from mentors along the way. Kirk shared one such lesson with the Showpig.com team.  ...
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Briefly introduce yourself:I’m Will Winter and a third generation WTX.  I live on the farm with my wife, Marisa, son Monster (Colter) and 2-1 (Sutton).  We operate Wintex with Dad.  We run 4.5 acres of showpig and purebred sows and roughly 30 boars.  We row crop farm and are starting to attempt to raise club calves (because we had free time). Location: Lubbock, Texas...
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With summer drawing to a close, many successful show gilts will be retired. But, success in the show ring doesn’t guarantee that female will make a great sow.  Many factors including, condition, care and even genetics will affect that gilt’s future in the farrowing barn. The Showpig.com team caught up with Lynsee Shaffer of Shaffer’s Goldrush to get her tips to make your show gilts into brood sows.  1) Carefully, study your show gilt and take into consideration comments from judges at the shows.  Know the areas she is good and know the areas she needs improvement.  ...
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 If you name a hurricane after a man, “he” will get lost, won’t ask for directions, wander around for days and leave a mess. That’s one of the lighter ways Texans describe Hurricane Harvey’s meander through the Lone Star State, which dumped 30-50 inches of rain over large swaths of Texas, according to Montgomery Lone Star Cowboy Church co-pastor Darla Weaver.

 There is absolutely no way to take Harvey’s aftermath lightly though. Weaver, who heads up the church’s hurricane relief efforts, finally stopped asking if people’s homes were flooded and simply began asking how deep the water got. The devastation, now estimated to be in the billions of dollars range, was extremely widespread. Not only did the unprecedented amount of rain overwhelm streams, ditches, rivers and natural drainage channels, but it taxed local lakes to the point that river authorities had to release thousands of gallons of water amid the rising flood.

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Having a successful sale requires more than simply booking the date. Marketing and promotions are still key to marketing livestock whether they’re selling online or in-person. This week, Kim West of KWest Communications, LLC, tells us how to make the most of your sales marketing. 

SOCIAL MEDIA It goes without saying that we are in the era of social media! Facebook and Twitter are still powerful advertising tools. However, be sure to talk with your kids and younger customers! Snapchat, YouTube and Instagram are very popular with the younger generation and being at the cutting edge will help solidify your business in the future....
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Briefly introduce yourself: I grew up on a diversified livestock operation and was very involved with showing livestock through 4-H, FFA and other junior programs such as the NJSA. I attended Fort Scott Community College as well as Iowa State University (ISU) where I was a member of the Livestock Judging Team. After graduation at ISU, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to return back to Missouri and oversee the showpig portion of Team Sloan Livestock. I am also part owner of Apex Sires that’s located in Indiana, as well as an advocate for Linder United. Location: Cameron, MO ...
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It’s time to go back to school, and some of us may be more excited than others to grab our backpacks and head off to learn new things. There is a common misconception that students interested in production agriculture don’t need to pursue further education after high school graduation, but the Showpig.com team wanted to share some stats with you about how important it is to get schooled in ag. Did you know many agribusiness jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree? According to the AgCareers.com 2016 Agribusiness Job Report, half of the jobs posted on their site, last year, required a bachelor’s degree or higher....
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Warren Beeler has spent decades judging livestock shows around the country. To date, he has shaken the hands of hundreds, if not thousands, of young people showing swine. Through his time sorting stock and showing with his own family, Warren has learned a lot of lessons. Some of which he has even taken with him as he serves as the Executive Director of the Kentucky Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy. The Showpig.com team was fortunate enough to have visited with Warren as he recalled three of his favorites. 1.    As a dad and as a judge, I don’t have much time for those who don’t know how to act when they win and learn when they lose. I remember judging Houston the first time with the sift at Brenham, Texas, there was about 4,000 head of hogs and only 660 got to continue to Houston. We were down to four barrows and two got to go to Houston. I picked this young gal, and she jumped about 3 feet off the ground and ran over to hug me. In the process, she karate chopped me right in the Adam’s apple. The second one I picked was a big, stout young man that came running, as I hunkered down, and bear hugged me. I remember their excitement. What I don’t remember is the other two that went on the truck. Those two were the ones that got the lesson. The chance to be so close and be put on the truck. I admire the discipline, character and integrity those two showed. I wish I could have hugged them, when they got that hard lesson. Life is not fair. It will give you some losses. Those that can learn from losing are headed for success....
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Did you know that, although we may look very different, pigs and humans have a lot in common? In fact, we’re so similar in size, physiology and even genetics that pigs are helping scientists learn more about how to treat human diseases. Here are some ways pigs are helping physicians have more tools to treat their patients in the future.

 

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The Pork Checkoff has selected 12 college students to represent the #RealPigFarming Student Social Forces team this year. Candidates were selected based on their involvement in the pork industry and their strong communication skills. The team will be active from July until December. “Social media is ingrained in young people’s lives,” said Claire Masker, public relations director for the Pork Checkoff. “It’s easy for them to share their thoughts about an industry that they are proud to be a part of through the various social media channels available to them.”...
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Keeping your pigs cool is a key part of having successful, showring-ready projects. Whether you have barrows or gilts in the barn, there is no doubt that they can feel the summer heat. Pigs can’t sweat like you or I, so when they get hot it is harder for them to cool down. In an effort to get their temperature back to normal, hot pigs resort to breathing heavily and panting. All this extra energy and stress spent on keeping cool leads to loss of appetite, loss of gains, less milk production in sows and in extreme cases even death. Needless to say, it’s important your pigs keep their cool.

H2O HYDRATION One of the simplest ways to make sure your pig stays cool is to make sure they have plenty of fresh, cold water. If their water is too hot, too old or too dirty to look appealing to you, then it likely doesn’t seem very refreshing to the pig either. This means emptying waters more than normal on warm days, so your swine have access to the finest, freshest and coolest water around.  ...
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 Nearly everyone has had a case of the showday jitters. Maybe your palms were sweaty while you tried to grip the handle of your new whip, you didn’t feel like eating before the show or perhaps you even forgot your barrow’s pedigree when the judge asked for it in showmanship. Well, rest assured you aren’t the first or the last showman to stumble upon showring stress and nerves. The key to being a great showman is not avoiding nervousness, but rather not letting it control you. The Showpig.com team has some tips to help you give showday jitters the slip.

PRACTICE TO PERFECT This may sound silly, but one of the best tricks to getting rid of your nerves is to be well prepared. If you practice like you plan to show at home, then your showday will likely seem less like a new experience and more like a familiar routine. This means, you should not only be walking your pigs, but also driving them around with a friend or family member standing in for the judge and even practice penning them like you would in a placing pen....
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Briefly introduce yourself: My name is Troy Lowdermilk owner of Lowdermilk Showpigs.   I am married to Stacy Lowdermilk, and we have two children, Sydney (6) and Chase (4).  Our farm consists of approximately 25 sows with 80 percent of our herd being comprised of Spots with a handful of crosses, Berks, Durocs and Yorks.  I grew up on a 125 sow farrow to finish operation where we raised both commercial swine as well as breeding stock. We have a major passion for the spot breed and raising purebred livestock.   Location:  Center Point, IN...
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