During my short time at the Pig Adventure I have had the opportunity to network with many people in our industry (and we still have a lot of events left the summer). One person I have met several times, Bill Johnson, swine coordinator at Joliet Junior College, asked me a question yesterday. His question was, "What will your reaction be and your answer when you are faced with an activist?"
My natural reaction is always "I can handle it, I've been trained to answer some of those questions", but the reality is that I think it will take me by surprise if someone tries to scrutinize my work ethic, my farm or my industry. Then Bill said something that I had thought of, but in a different context. He said, "I honestly think that when people see the pigs, barn, farmers, and hear you talk about what they're looking at, some potential naysayers are going to back down from their original stance."
We agreed that this is because the amount of people who come in with no agenda, just to see the farm and learn a little about pigs, will be overwhelmed with the facility's cleanliness, welfare, practices and content-ness of the animals. The fact that we can provide people with information about pig farms and show them exactly what we do is such a powerful tool for us.
So, is it all worth it? I honesty believe it is! When you're doing the right things, you have no reason to cover them up or hide. When you're prepared to answer questions and address concerns about the pigs and farm practices, there's no way you can go wrong with the general public.
I believe that 60% of the people who come and tour the Pig Adventure are going to be just that, tourists who want to see what its all about. I think that 30% are going to be coming specifically for the educational exhibits that are geared towards children and school trips. The last 10% are going to be people who really have worries and scepticism towards what we do. This 10% will get so much information and have an opportunity to have their concerns addressed by us that I don't know how we can lose the argument.