|The concrete was still wet from being poured that morning|
One year ago this week I drove to the World Pork Expo to help some friends talk about a dream they had for the pig industry. They had already began reaching towards their dream. I remember stopping by Fair Oaks, Indiana at the current site of the Pig Adventure and finding that concrete footers had just been poured that day for a breeding/gestating/farrowing barn that was being built.
This was no ordinary barn though, and it was no ordinary dream that my friends at Belstra Milling and Fair Oaks Farms had. They planned to build an fully functioning pig farm that allowed the public to come in and see what pig farmers do on a daily basis. That dream continued to grow through many planning and development meetings but they were on their way to transforming that dream into reality.
|Artist rendition of what was soon to come|
This week, one year later, I witnessed the miracle of life take place on site of that same pig farm! The first litter of piglets arrived on June 3, 2013. The dream of a few farmers had almost come full circle. This week was also the beginning of friends and family "sneak peek week".
|Kasey, a pig farmer at the Pig Adventure shows our visitors one of the piglets born today.|
While construction continued on the Pig Adventure, I witnessed hundreds of people come through the doors and begin playing with all the cool gizmos and gadgets throughout the building. Our guests were also able to see what I had witnessed earlier in the week, the miracle of life take place right before their eyes.
|A litter rests after a morning of nursing. The sow lays comfortably in her pen as they rest.|
It's amazing to see how happy people are when their are young animals around them. There is something to be said about witnessing a birth, its almost as if you share the moment with them, and in many ways people were. The comments I heard ranged from, "oh my there's so many of them" to "they're so cute" and the most eye opening to the public "you mean that pig just lays there and has them all with almost no pain?"
Being able to share that moment with the visitors was something special to me. I enjoyed seeing all their faces light up when they saw the pigs happily playing with each other or sleeping. I even shared some laughs as the piglets showed that their age as they did what piglets do, nurse and play.
I take great pride in what we do on the farm and have an ever growing respect for the care takers of all species of animals. It's amazing to see these things I've discussed take place. It's even more amazing to see, and be a part of a dream as big as the Pig Adventure take shape.
|Interns Phil and Leah study the 8 ft. ipad-type exhibit to make sure its working properly in the visitors center.|
While the pig adventure still isn't complete, I have no doubt that the next few months will be very fun for the many people involved in the big dream of some pig farmers.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, "Dream no small dream for they have no power to move the hearts of men" and as I sit and write this, I find more and more truth in those words. If not for big dreams, mankind would not have been able to grow to where we are today.