In 2012, I undertook to learn about the practice of industrial hog production. I found that there were a great number of farmers eager for their story to be told. Faced with years of hidden camera documentaries produced by animal rights organizations, these individuals felt they were unfairly portrayed and many standard practices were simply misunderstood.
What I found was eye opening. The farmers taught me to think of food production on a global scale and more important, I was shown the bond between a farmer and his animals. Their animals had sustained their families’ lives through their very deaths. This served to create and enforce a bond between the farmers, their animals and their land. One farmer, Dave Struthers of Struthers Farms summed it up in a typical matter-of-fact Midwestern way, “Steve.”, he said, “I need my animals to be happy. When they are happy, they are healthy and when they are healthy, they grow. Then I can sell them and make money to feed my family. Abusing my animals wouldn’t just hurt them, it would hurt me.”
These photographs were made in order to combat ignorance and bring further understanding of the world about us.
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Dave Struthers and family- Struthers Farms
Rod & Missy Bice and family - Golden Circle Pork / Bice Family Farm
Brad & Joyce Moeckly - Moeckly Farm
Ron Birkenholtz - Iowa Pork Producers Association
Kim Johnson Heidemann - Iowa Sister States
The Johnson Family