3 Illinois pig farmers you need to know
There are 11 million pigs in the state of Illinois, making it the fourth largest producer of pork in the United States. With around 2,000 hog farms to choose from, we’re sharing how three Illinois pig farmers are changing their industry for the better.
Their points of pride, whether it is youth involvement, technology or sharing what they do with consumers, are what make Illinois pig farmers so much more than the people who provide our pork. They are dedicated to creating better, safer and more sustainable farming practices that benefit our local communities, state and world.
Pat Bane, Illinois pig farmer in McLean
Pat was voted America’s Pig Farmer of the Year in 2018. He is an advocate for creating conversations between consumers and Illinois pig farmers, to show those unfamiliar with agriculture how raising pigs has evolved for the better.
Pat raises 3,000 pigs on his farm where he’s passionate about biosecurity and animal welfare. He prides himself on his openness to answering any and all questions about the pork industry. His hope for the future is that consumers will achieve a better understanding of how food is raised and the technology available to help modern pig farmers reach their goals.
Thomas Titus, Illinois pig farmer in Elkhart
Many farmers are either born into it or brought into it by marriage. In Thomas’ case, it’s both. He raises 750 pigs and grows corn and soybeans on his wife’s family farm. Thomas spends most of his time managing the family business, focusing on the sow center where they care for mother pigs. His hard work and dedication have been recognized with a nomination for America’s Pig Farmer of the Year in 2019.
Over the last 53 years, the family farm has grown to support multiple generations and is eager for the seventh generation, Thomas’ daughters, to make their mark. Thomas has deep roots in 4-H and FFA, devoting 75 of his pigs as show/fair animals for local 4-H kids. His hope is that his daughters, nieces and nephews learn the joys of showing livestock while building character along the way.
Drew Kuhn, Illinois pig farmer in Genoa
Surrounded by farmers with decades of experience to share, Drew is the definition of a lifelong learner. His goal is to raise clean, wholesome pork that helps feed the world. He achieves his goals by constantly educating himself. He is always on the hunt for new technology, which leads him off the farm to conferences and meetings that help him better understand modern farming solutions.
Aside from growing crops and raising pigs on his family’s farm, Drew works on another family hog farm full time. He claims that no two days are the same, which helps him master a variety of skills.
Illinois might rank fourth for number of pigs raised in the U.S., but the dedication and excellence of Illinois pig farmers is tough to beat.