Steve Meyer, from Paragon Economics made that statement at a pork industry meeting I recently attended. It’s a simple statement, yet very profound. We may call ourselves pork producers, pig farmers, growers, producers or even farm families, but in the end, we have one purpose, to produce food to feed people.

Every day Dale gets up and goes out to the barns to feed and take care of the pigs. There are sows to breed, young pigs that need to be checked and the occasional pig that may need extra care. There is feed to grind and animals to be fed. Some days there are gates to be fixed or other repairs that need to be done. The end goal is to send a pig to market that is healthy, efficient and a good source of lean protein for the consumer.

The pigs we raise could end up as a dry aged pork chop in a white table restaurant. The ham could be part of a school lunch meal, perhaps the best meal that some kid has for that day. Pork ribs could be part of a tailgate party before a big football game. The loin roast could be part of a hot delicious meal on a cold winter night.

The farmers I know are modest, perhaps too modest. They don’t want to call attention to what they do, so unfortunately some people don’t understand what it’s like to raise pigs today. It’s like many other jobs, rewarding, challenging, frustrating and gratifying. But to farmers, it’s more than a job, it’s a livelihood, a passion they have for raising livestock that one day feeds people.

Next time you see a farmer, any type of farmer, tell him or her thanks. They may be surprised, but they’ll appreciate your gratitude.