Nebraska Blizzard Brings Out the Best in Pig Barn Employees
By: JoAnn Alumbaugh
Originally Posted by Farm Journal’s Pork
One of the lesser known aspects of hog production is planning for severe weather and braving all elements to make sure pigs are cared for and welfare needs are met. Come rain, sleet, snow or any other weather occurrence, animals still need to be tended.
On January 21 and 22, 2018, a blizzard passed through Nebraska, posing dangerous road conditions and downed power lines, which cut power to barns managed by The Maschhoffs.
“More than 80 employees across the state ventured out to weather the storm to ensure generators were in working order and pigs were comfortable in the barns,” the company said in a news release. “Some stayed for multiple nights until they could be plowed out. The efforts of these employees allowed them to save hundreds of pigs from freezing in the winter weather conditions.”
“Our employees are some of the best there are,” said Arlyn Wasenius, production director for The Maschhoffs, in the release. “When it came time to prepare for the storm, there were no reservations about staying the night in barns.”
Wasenius said employees watch weather conditions closely in making judgment calls related to animal care. They keep the best interest of their pigs in mind, “even if that means they have to sacrifice sleeping in their own warm beds at home to safely ensure animal needs are met,” he said.
He points out that employees frequently go “above and beyond” in caring for pigs. In regular winter conditions, employees monitor propane levels closely so pigs stay warm. In the summer, they make sure fans and water misters are functioning properly so pigs don’t overheat.
“If you were to ask any pig producer about the long hours or the crazy weather conditions, they’d probably smile and tell you it’s just part of their job,” Wasenius said in the news release. “There’s a lot of pride in pig care and it’s an industry I feel lucky to be a part of.”