Meet the game-changing women of pig farming

Ahead of International Women’s Day (8 March), take a moment to learn about the two female pig farmers from Iowa who have been recognised as leaders of the next generation of American pig farmers
calendar icon 7 March 2018
clock icon 4 minute read

The National Pork Board announced 1 March 2018 that Christine Snowden and Emma Lasco, both from Iowa, and Adam Krause, from South Dakota, have been named the 2018 Pig Farmers of Tomorrow. They were recognised at the 2018 National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City.

Left to right: Emma Lasco, Adam Krause and Christine Snowden. Photo: Pork Checkoff

An industry panel of judges selected the 2018 Pig Farmers of Tomorrow, who all have had a Common Industry Audit completed on their farms.

National Pork Board President Terry O’Neel commented on the announcement:

It is important for the Pork Checkoff to recognise the future leaders of the pork industry. We are excited for these young farmers to share their unique stories with consumers.

The award recognises farm leaders, ages 18-29, who intend to make pig farming their life’s work and who are committed to raising pigs using the pork industry’s We CareSM ethical principles. The winners will speak at Pork Checkoff events and provide content on #RealPigFarming, which is the pork industry’s social media programme.

Emma Lasco is a territory manager for Smithfield Foods Midwest Production in Roland, Iowa. She assists growers with implementing Smithfield’s industry-leading animal care standards on their farms:

"It is important for people in the pork industry to speak up so that our story gets told correctly. We are committed to caring for animals daily and are passionate about keeping them safe, comfortable and healthy. At the end of the day, the care that we provide animals translates into safe and wholesome products for consumers".

Lasco was not raised into farming; she aspired to be a veterinarian, however, through internships in sow barns and finishing barns, she developed a passion for pig rearing.

Attending Iowa State University, Lasco found herself inspired to make a change in the pig industry by Tom Baas, a mentor during her time studying. She believes that inspiring the next generation of young pig farmers can be achieved through communicating directly with people via social media.

Christine Snowden is an assistant farrowing manager for AMVC, located in Audubon, Iowa. She works with other employees to care for piglets from birth until they are weaned:

"Working in the pork industry is a rewarding career. Not only do you get to work with animals every day, but you get a sense of pride by helping to provide pork for consumers here in the United States".

Snowden began showing Spot pigs at a young age then went on to major in animal science at Ohio State University. She also believes that her mentor, Dr Steve Moeller, has provided her with inspiration for improving the pig industry.

Snowden believes that transparency between farmers and consumers is key to showing the hard work that pig farmers put into rearing their animals safely and with welfare in mind. She wants to bring the public into the farrowing room through social media live streaming to encourage the next generation to learn more about the pig farming life.

Sources: Pork Checkoff; National Hog Farmer

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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