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Pig farmers hog less water, land to bring home the bacon

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Pig farmers hog less water, land to bring home the bacon

Steve Weaver of the National Pork Board was the guest speaker at Wednesday’s Ripon Rotary Club meeting at the Barnwood Restaurant.

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POSTED August 29, 2013 11:34 a.m.

Steve Weaver stands for everything pork.

As guest speaker at Wednesday’s Ripon Rotary Club, the Elk Grove pig farmer provided some information on the nutritional benefit from “the other white meat.”

Raised in Tracy, Weaver, who was initially in the banking business, attended Modesto Junior College via Fresno State.
“Pork is safer, leaner and even better for you than ever before in our history,” he said, using information certified by the American Heart Association.

Take the pork tenderloin, for example. Weaver said it is now as lean as a skinless chicken breast.

He operates Weaver Farms, which is a 60-sow farrow-to-finish operation in Elk Grove. “Those 60 females produce 1,200 babies a year – most do not go into the general population,” said Steve Weaver, who speaks to the various clubs and organization throughout California and Nevada.

His visit with Ripon Rotary was his No. 213 among his speaking engagements since 2004.

Weaver got into the pig industry after helping his children in 4-H Club events. He recalled pork getting a bum rap regarding diet and health back in the 1970s.

Much has changed since including how pigs are handled during the process. “Today’s farms combine the best of traditional farming methods with the benefits of better animal health and nutrition, and modern barns,” said Weaver.
Farmers also use 41-percent less water and 78-percent less land to raise pigs than that of 50 years ago, he pointed out.
Weaver is among the 68,000 pork producers in the U.S., with the industry generating more than a half million jobs while producing more than $21 billion in personal income each year.

“We’re the largest exporter of pork in the world,” he said.

His pigs are raised under safe and sanitary conditions and are fed a diet consisting of 75 percent corn coupled with soy bean meal and vitamins. “There are no growth hormones,” Weaver said.

He added that his sows are pregnant every four months or 114 days. “They produce a litter of 10 to 13 and (those piglets) are weaned 21 days after birth,” said Weaver.

He’s proud of the work by the pork industry and some of the recent campaigns, including: “You Can’t Buy Happiness, but You Can Buy Bacon, which is the same thing.”

To reach reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail vrembulat@mantecabulletin.com.

VINCE REMBULAT/The Bulletin

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