I *Heart* My Favorite Pig Farmer

May 1, 2009 | 19 comments

You’ve heard of Hog Heaven? I live there.

My home is Iowa — a state where pigs outnumber people by a huge margin. Iowa is the number-one pork-producing state in the U.S., and the top state for pork exports.

Last night, I ate ham for dinner. Afterward, I climbed in bed next to a pig farmer. (Just to clarify, that farmer is my husband.)

But for the last week, the message that spread worldwide was this: pigs and people don’t mix.

All because of these two words: Swine Flu.

The virus has made some people terribly sick. Many have died.

Like most people, we have stepped up our hand-washing regimen. We pay attention to news reports and take necessary precautions. (I winced this week when Lydia came home with a cough.)

All because of two words: Swine Flu.

A name is a powerful thing. Words can move us to action — and sometimes, to overreaction.

But here’s the truth: the virus is not caused by eating bacon, or pork ribs, or ham. And the virus has yet to be linked to a pig, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Officials now acknowledge that “swine flu” is a misnomer. Many government health agencies this week began referring to the virus by its official name: H1N1. But when you look at the pork market, it’s clear that some damage has already been done.

U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters this week: “It’s H1N1 virus. That’s very, very important. And it is significant, because there are a lot of hardworking families whose livelihood depends on us conveying this message of safety.”

This week, we watched the pork market plummet in response to the spreading virus. We’re not fretting. That, too, would be an overreaction. We’ve got crops to plant, animals to care for, kids to bathe and feed and love.

Early this morning, my favorite pig farmer walked out the door to tend to the livestock. As a new day began on an Iowa farm, my husband got dirty with pigs, brushed up next to pigs and loaded pigs onto trucks headed for market.

This is what we do: we make food on the farm. We plant corn. We raise pigs. We turn soybeans into edible soynuts, which is our own brand of value-added agriculture right here on the Lee Farm.

And tonight, we will gather around the table, thanking God for His provision, and also asking them to care for those who are sick.

Then later, I will slip under the covers next to my husband — thankful for what he does, but even more so, for who he is.

Photos: Anna playing PlayDoh.
Drawing found in Lydia’s backpack this week.

by | May 1, 2009 | 19 comments


  1. Wendy

    Nicely worded. Thanks for the clarification. I love reading about your life. 🙂

    Have a great weekend!
    ~ Wendy

  2. Angie Vik

    Good job. I don’t know how the Lyon County Reporter has covered Swine Flu, but they might be interested in this post fleshed out into an article.

  3. Lyla Lindquist

    Great piece, Jennifer. Here in So Dak we have good friends raising hogs as well, and I know the over- (and misinformed) reaction affects them as well. Reading your posts recently on the land and the farm reminds me so much how I admire the faith of those who trust God enough to farm. Two huge things you can’t control – the weather and public opinion – have such a great impact. Seeing folks like you and the pig farmer you sleep with rely on His provision and control inspires me. (Not to mention putting food on my table…) Thank you!

  4. Chris Godfredsen

    Well done, good and faithful servant. Well said, well said!

    Nuff said!

  5. Chris Godfredsen

    Well done, good and faithful servant. Well said, well said!

    Nuff said!

  6. isumom

    I *heart* my pig farmer too!

  7. Billy Coffey

    Lyla is absolutely right. Farmers have to worry about a lot more than just the weather. I suppose that’s why so many of them have such great faith. It’s been tested time and again, and never found wanting.

    Bless you, Jennifer!

  8. christy rose

    Thank you for this post. I really had not heard much about this sickness because I do not watch the news much, but that just leaves me ignorant. I really have been informed here today. Thank you so much!

  9. Denise

    I am not afraid and will be eating pork chops tonight. Passing through Iowa via Interstate 80, we didn’t see much but pigs and corn. Will be praying that hysteria will not prevail.

    I know that we just met but I wanted to let you know that I have had blogging problems and hence have to create a new blog. I hope you visit me at my new home.

    Denise (formerly Teacups and Time)

  10. Steph

    Nicely said!

  11. Alleluiabelle

    Thanks Jennifer. I just love your writing and will never tire of saying that to you. What a great post…so informative about the Swine Flu sickness. You and your husband are faithful ones and I thank you both for putting food on my table as well!

    Hugs & blessings,

  12. sharilyn

    i must admit that i am so very very weary of the overreactions not only to this, but to so many issues these days…. but i shall suffice it to say that and then be quiet… : )

    i love your pig farming husband, too! and i’m going to largely populated places and eating as much pork as i can! 🙂

    oinks to you and yours!

  13. Jennifer

    Thank you all for your comments.

    Lyla — Appreciate your support of farmers. God bless you!

    Denise — I hope you enjoyed your pork chops. Your new blog looks wonderful, though I was so sad to hear that your old one was disabled. Have you figured that you yet?

    Alleluiabelle — You are such an encourager. Thanks for stopping by …

    Sharilyn — Amen, sister. I raise a toast to you with a big plate of bacon … 🙂

  14. Laura

    Why in the world is it called “Swine” flu?? And don’t people think that if the cause was eating pork they would know about it?

    I am constantly losing faith in the common sense of the public.

    Bless you and your family for doing the hard work, Jennifer. We count on you guys and often take the work of farmers for granted.

    I’m praying for this hysteria to end tonight, and saying a special prayer for that pig farmer in your bed!

  15. hope42day

    I don’t understand why it was labeled with this in the first place. My son and I were both under the weather this past week with coughs, stuffy noses, and scratchy throats. However, I did not even think of us having the Swine. I immediately went to Walgreen’s and got some heavy duty Theraflu. We now just have lingering colds.
    I realize some people have died from this but I believe the media needs to quit fusing fear when it is not warranted. It appears ratings are more important than people’s lives and livelihoods.

  16. elaine @ peace for the journey

    No fears, Jennifer! We eat enough pork over here to keep your family business up and running for the next hundred years or so. Honestly, my boys could down a pig in one sitting.

    Now about those arteries…


  17. Monica

    I just found you blog through the Unknown Contributor, I’m really loving it!! You have some amazing posts!! This one is great!! We had ham just the other night, and don’t plan on cutting back on our pork 🙂 My Uncle has a big pig farm in Charles City Iowa, are you near there??
    Can’t wait to come back and

  18. Pam at beyondjustmom

    Well said, Jennifer. It’s too bad it requires clarification, but you do it well with due respect for those suffering too.
    As a farmer’s daughter, I find there are many misconceptions about farm life that need explaining!

  19. lynnrush

    Nice post. The media adds a bit to the overreact factor, huh?


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