America's Pig Farmer of the Year stresses importance of communicating with consumers

America's Pig Farmer of the Year, Patrick Bane, has been communicating with consumers about food production and safety in the US pork industry.

29 October 2019, at 12:30pm

Patrick Bane, owner of Bane Family Pork Farm in central Illinois, says he has been honoured to be America's Pig Farmer of the Year, serving the industry from 2018 through to October 2019, promoting and educating consumers about the pork industry.

Patrick Bane, owner of Bane Family Pork Farm in central Illinois, speaks with The Pig Site’s Sarah Mikesell

“As a producer, I talk to consumers about how we care for our pigs,” Bane explained. “There are six pillars that we operate on as pork producers: environmental stewardship, animal care, employee training, being active in our community, food safety and public health. Not only do we have to prove and show how we incorporate those on our farm, but we have to be able to communicate that to consumers to promote trust in our industry.”

Consumers are very involved in their food and their food choices.

“They have the right to know more about their food. As producers of not just pigs, but of food, we need to be responsible and forthcoming on how we raise our pigs,” Bane noted. “We brought our animals inside for their protection and that sometimes puts a shield around them, and we have to educate consumers about what's going on in those buildings.”

Bane's role at the Swine Innovation Summit

Bane was part of a panel who listened to five entrepreneurs presenting at the Summit.

“They are people who have developed things that are beneficial to animal care in the swine industry, and I'm to ask them questions,” he said. "So, I'm looking very much forward to that.”

The Summit is the first of its kind, so a lot of new information was new to many at the conference.

“It's a first and I think one of many more to come,” he said. “It's very cutting edge in the industry, and I'm learning a lot. It's been a day full of speakers talking about collaboration between people who want to be innovators and hooking them up with financiers and influencers in the industry to make their product successful.”

One of the innovative topics discussed was blockchain, and how it's being used in the food industry, not only to provide information to the industry, but so that information can be shared with consumers to help build trust in the food supply.