March 1 is National Pig Day. The PA Friends of Agriculture Foundation have staged a fundraiser to determine which board member of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau should kiss a pig. Contestants include board president Rick Ebert and board vice president Chris Hoffman. If Rick gets the most donations under his name by midnight, Chris has to kiss a pig. If Chris wins, Rick will be the one to pucker up.
Also joining in the fun to promote the friendly contest is our friend Dave Williams of PA Farm Country Radio. He has decided to get behind Chris’ fundraising efforts. As of March 1, Dave told us, “it looks like Chris is winning.” On Monday morning, Chris noted on his Facebook page that total donations were less than $2,000 away from hitting $20,000. As of 1 pm, he was holding a substantial lead over Team Rick.
“I think we can make it,” said Chris. “The goal of course is to see president Rick Ebert in red lipstick kissing one of our cute little piglets.” Rick runs a large dairy operation in Derry Township, Westmoreland County.
Dave says he’s friends with both Rick and Chris, having served on the executive board of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau with Chris, as well as having both of them on his radio show from time to time. “They’re both great guys, and we like to give each other a hard time,” Dave jokes. “And the Ag Foundation does a lot of great things.” Cabot took Dave’s lead, and we’ve donated $1,000 in EITC funds to the cause under Chris’s name.
Chris is no stranger to hogs. In fact, the first-generation farmer earned the title America’s Pig Farmer of the Year in 2019. He owns and operates several farms in Juniata and Mifflin counties. His farms have grown from 600 sows when he started the operation in 1994 to 1,400 sows today. An average of 900 piglets are born each week. Chris and his family raise about a third of them through finishing. Other farmers raise the rest and take them to one of two finishing operations when they reach market size.
Dave noted how impressive it was for Chris to win the award, considering the fact that he was up against three other pig farmers from the Midwest. “You’d be surprised at how many people don’t know that we raise pigs in Pennsylvania,” Chris laughed. He championed best practices for raising healthy hogs across the country, visiting with other agriculturists and food suppliers.
This is the first year for such a contest, Dave related. “In a normal year, we can raise money through other means. But we are unable to do so this year because of COVID,” he remarked.
The PA Friends of Agriculture Foundation formed in 1986 by a group of farmers and business leaders who had the foresight to start identifying and addressing agricultural issues. The Foundation exists to enlighten the public about farming, create educational programs for young students, train teachers on agricultural concepts, and to promote career opportunities in farming.
We’re big fans of the Ag Foundation’s mobile Ag Labs. The labs take to local schools to expose students to farming and how the food they eat is produced.
You can even watch the board member who falls short on donations kiss a pig! Join the PA Friends of Agriculture Foundation Facebook Live at 1 pm on Wednesday, March 3 on their Facebook page.