Answer: The holidays are a special time and meant to be shared with family. However, livestock farmers still need to tend to their animals and don’t have the holidays off.
As a farmer who raises pigs, I dislike holidays. Why? On a livestock farm, animals require daily care, including holidays.
You see, I have a regular schedule and workload that is consistent throughout the week. With a holiday, it means that my schedule is compromised to allow for some holiday time which, in turn, can create some challenges for me and my farm employees. I have to find a way to juggle the daily needs of my pigs with my family.
Personally, I love the holidays and look forward to celebrating with family and friends!
Here is how I make it work with my family and farm. I have a couple of employees and I make sure they have Christmas off. In the days leading up to Christmas and the New Year, we make sure to have all the feed bins full and all buildings get the once over twice to make sure there are no surprises. This doesn’t always work.
I remember fixing a broken water line one Christmas and in recent times I recall a feed line motor that needed to be changed out so the pigs could have their Christmas meal. These repairs were made rather quickly.
Christmas for my family has changed over the years.
These days, Christmas starts about 4 in the morning with my young children coming in and waking my wife and I, asking if they can check for presents under the tree. We send them back to bed and they return every 15 minutes or so until we give in around 5:30 a.m. After the gifts are opened, we have a big breakfast and then I slip away and tend to the needs of the pigs.
The rest of the day is spent with family and friends and dealing with “some assembly required” with a quick check of the pigs before the sun goes down.
Just like police officers, fire fighters and doctors are there for us seven days a week, livestock farmers are there for their animals every day too, even Christmas. It’s just what we do to provide food for others.
From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!
CARL HEIDE – FOURTH GENERATION HOG AND GRAIN FARMER, DEKALB
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