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“I survived the 2012 Boston Marathon”. That’s the shirt that Dale wants someone to create so that he can buy it. 87° temperatures and running a marathon are two things that do not go well together. Yet Dale was able to stay upright, when unfortunately many didn’t, and run a very respectable 3:45 marathon.

Our weekend in Boston was memorable; not only for the heat but for the great opportunity we had to promote pork during the Health Expo. As I walked into the Event Center, I could smell the inviting scent of grilled pork. Even though the place was packed and I couldn’t find our booth, I knew the Pork Power team was there. We had lots of people ask why pork was at the Health Expo. When we tell them how well a lean protein like pork fits into an athlete’s diet, you could see their head nod in agreement.

Over and over we instructed people on the proper way to cook pork and how that really does make a difference in juiciness and taste. In the end, our goal was to create a positive impression, to provide a little education and to encourage people to continue to buy pork.

Having goals and committing to the hard work and discipline to achieve those goals applies to most everything we do in life, from promoting pork to running marathons. Sometimes things happen beyond our control but that doesn’t make the preparation or the effort needed to accomplish the task any less significant.

Simply having the courage to take on a daunting task reflects the true character of a person.

Congratulations Boston Marathon Finishers

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Last Friday my daughter Beth and I visited the Worthington Middle School and shared our experiences as pig farmers with the 5th graders. The opportunity was made possible by the MN Pork Board through their sponsorship with Provider Pals.

Very few of the culturally diverse kids were familiar with pigs and the basic facts of how much they weigh when they are born (3.3 lbs), how big they are at market (280 lbs) and how many pigs a sow can have in a year (30). By the way, that last fact drew a big “wow” from the kids. They asked lots of questions and had a great time trying on the Tyvek coveralls and plastic boots.

They took turns coming to the smart board and circling on a picture of a pig where their favorite cuts of pork came from. You could see them start to make the connection – bacon, everyone’s favorite, comes from pigs and these people raise those pigs. They wanted to know how much pigs ate and how did we decide how much to feed the sows and oh by the way, why do you call them sows? Yes, we even go the delicate question of how can you eat the pigs you raise. As I explain to them how lucky I am because I have the opportunity to grow my own food, I also wanted them to understand that I know I raise pork for people like them and I want them to have safe and healthy pork too.

During one of our breaks a little boy who hasn’t been in the U.S. very long, politely came up and asked Beth if she wanted to play checkers. What a fitting summary to our day. We may live in different areas and look and speak differently, but in the end, we all have something in common.

Our goal was to leave a little nugget of information for those kids so that the next time someone talks about pigs and farming they remember what we said and make a positive connection. Yes, pig farmers are real people. They have kids and those kids like to play checkers, just like you.

Playing Chess at Provider Pals Day