America’s Pig Farmer of the Year 2018

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Patrick Bane, a pig farmer from Arrowsmith, Illinois, has been named the 2018 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year. Bane will be telling the story of pig farming to numerous audiences in the year ahead. Find out more in this edition of Pork Pod.


Don Wick


Patrick Bane, America's Pig Farmer of the Year




patrick-bane-with-pigDon Wick: 00:16 From the Pork Checkoff in Des Moines Iowa, it’s Pork Pod. Pork Pod, a look at the hot topics in today’s pork industry. The Pork Checkoff is working for you through various forms of research, promotion, and consumer information projects. This is Don Wick speaking on behalf of the National Pork Board, and today my guest is Patrick Bane, a pig farmer from Arrowsmith, Illinois, who has been named the 2018 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year. Patrick, first of all, congratulations.

Patrick Bane: 00:32 Thank you, Don. It means a lot to me. It’s been about eight month process of written interviews, written applications and interviews, a farm assessment. So it’s a kind of accumulation of, I guess, documentation and proof that we do a really good job at raising pigs and we’re able to express the We Care principles that Pork Board puts out there. And, but to me it’s a, it’s a great honor. I’ve spent a lot of time putting myself out there, {inaudible} good stewards for the farm, speaking to various community groups about what we do to try to educate the public. And so, yeah, I’m quite honored and look forward to taking the message to a broader audience.

Don Wick: 01:24 Patrick, tell us about your story. Tell us about your farming operation.

Patrick Bane: 01:30 Yeah, so we’re in central, east central Illinois. I have a 3000 sow breed-to-wean closed herd, closed herd meaning no females come into the farm. We raise our own replacement females. The selection process, so about 10 percent of the herd focuses on genetic selection. And then about 90 percent of the herd focuses on just pigs for market. So we save back every month females to replace the mothers as they age. I’m in partnership with two brothers. I’m the one that oversees the farm on a daily basis, have for 20 years, 25 years. We built the farm about 25 years ago. We doubled it about 10 years ago. And work with another family operation in the state who takes the pigs that we raise. I have eight employees. I think it’s critically important to have great workers who care, who are patient, who are passionate about what they do. And I think that’s a big key to our success, in addition to me being there on a daily basis to oversee the operation.

Don Wick: 02:48 So give me an idea what the year ahead is as America’s Pig Farmer of the Year is going to be like.

Patrick Bane: 02:53 Not exactly sure, but I think it’s, it’ll give me the opportunity to do kind of what I’ve been doing to audiences and consumers that I have not been exposed to as of yet. I think that as I head to Houston today to speak to a retailers advisory council, which sounds very interesting. And yeah, I just really look forward to talking to other people who are interested and want to learn about how their food is raised. I think there’s, you know, with biosecurity, that we focus on so much to keep the pigs healthy, it kinda puts closed doors up behind what we do. And I think as a producer, as a farmer, I need to, you know, I think it’s important to get out and talk to people and tell them what we do so they can be well informed on all the aspects we do to raise good pork.

Don Wick: 03:52 Any particular message you want to make sure that you leave these audiences with?

Patrick Bane: 03:57 Yeah, I think, my experiences this far, I’ve learned that people are shocked and surprised to understand how much technology goes into keep the animals comfortable, well cared for. You know, we use it to improve the environment, sustainability, and obviously to grow a safe and healthy product. I just think so many of us are, a lot of consumers are so removed from a farm. A lot of times there isn’t even a base understanding of what is involved to raise a healthy food product like pork.

Don Wick: 04:39 Again, congratulations to Patrick Bane, America’s Pig Farmer of the Year. Thank you for listening to this edition of Pork Pod. For more information on this topic or the Pork Checkoff itself, visit