hog barn Pork producers are taking visitors on a virtual tour to show how farmers are using technology to protect their pigs and the environment, thanks to new videos on the Pork Checkoff’s YouTube channel.

“We know the pork industry’s messages resonate when they are delivered by farmers,” says Teresa Roof, public relations manager for the Pork Checkoff. “Farmers have many positive stories to share, and YouTube videos offer a powerful way to share these stories.”

The new two- to three-minute videos at the Pork Checkoff’s YouTube channel include:

  • Meet a Family Famer. Scott Phillips, owner of Phillips Family Farms in Missouri, decided to return to the family farm after serving in the U.S. Air Force. Scott and his employees share a passion for farming. “We love raising pigs,” said Scott, who is involved in many community activities and hosts farm tours. “Our goal is to raise hogs that provide you with the best pork.”
  • Animal Care a Top Priority. Scott Phillips takes viewers on a virtual tour inside his swine barns as he details why animal care is important to him.  “We want these pigs to be as stress free and comfortable as possible,” says Scott, who uses technology to keep his pigs cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
  • Sustainable Pig Farmers Embrace Technology. At the Sandy River Farm in Arkansas, employees are embracing technology to protect the environment. This farm uses an anaerobic manure digester, also known as a methane digester, to collect manure and convert the energy stored in its organic matter into methane, which is used to produce energy. Richard Gray, environmental health and safety manger, explains what happens at each stage of the process.
  • Baby Pigs: The Gift of Life. Randy Ayers works with the mother pigs at the Sandy River Farm as they give birth to their piglets. Randy shows how he cares for the pigs on a daily basis and explains how he works closely with a veterinarian to ensure the pigs’ well-being.

Edgy titles attract attention swine manure application
The new videos enhance the Pork Checkoff’s YouTube channel, which includes more than 70 titles. In addition to videos of the pork industry’s Environmental Steward Award winners (such as Future View Farm in Pennsylvania), other popular videos range from “Boars or Monster Pigs?” which shows how farmers provide humane housing and care for male pigs, to “Alternative Lifestyle of a Sow,” which features Sandy River Farm’s free-access stalls.

“Sometimes our videos have edgy names, but we study the key words that people search for online and use this information to share our story,” says Roof, who tracks the demographics of people who view the Pork Checkoff’s YouTube videos.

The largest group includes 45- to 54-year-olds, followed by 35- to 44-year olds, says Roof, who adds that the majority of viewers are male.

To reach an even wider audience, the Pork Checkoff is developing additional YouTube videos in 2013 and is utilizing veterinarians to serve as spokespeople for the pork industry.

“Promoting the Pork Checkoff’s videos and linking to them in social media conversations offers a great way to show how pork farmers are working every day to do things better,” Roof says.