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Paperwork, Farm Audits and Training, Oh My

Paperwork, Farm Audits and Training, Oh My

We are in our hog barns more than once a day, is initialing a piece of paper really the only way to prove that?

I might have taken a corner a little too fast the other day and all the paperwork on the passenger seat of my truck slid onto the floorboard. Needless to say it irritated me for a couple of reasons: First, my truck is a mess, and second, the sheer amount of paperwork needed to raise hogs is crazy!

The paperwork on the floorboard included three large binders all dedicated to making sure we are raising hogs "correctly." That is only a small portion of the paperwork, too – the majority is either in the hog office or home office, consisting of own records and paperwork not needed on hand for an audit. The paperwork in my truck was required for the latest audit.

The squeaky wheel: My truck is a mess of redundant paperwork filled out to please audit after audit, doubling the time it takes me to simply care for my livestock - something we do daily anyway.

Related: A Farmer's Wife and Stay at Home Mom's Bio

You all know one of my favorite sayings. "The squeaky wheel gets the grease." How much grease does this squeaky wheel get before we learn to ignore it?

My binders, now in a disheveled pile on the floorboard of my truck, were dedicated to Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Pork Quality Assurance and most recently a welfare audit by Tyson and Validus.

Why so many is my question. I have personally done or helped with the paperwork on all three – they are virtually identical. Redundancy is rampant. I support proper care and treatment of animals, but the paperwork is not the tool to assure that, the people in the buildings are. Paperwork is too easily falsified in this case, and seems to be all the agencies involved with respect.

Related: #RealPigFarming: A Social Media Movement for Modern Hog Farms

By the time a certification/audit expires, it is no longer the program, someone else is in charge and has implemented a new system.

Who are we trying to pacify? And is it even possible to do just that? Throwing a lion a steak just makes it want more steak, and he will not be satisfied until there is no more to be had. The animal rights groups are utilizing the "eating an elephant one bite at a time" strategy, slowly nibbling away and pushing in small increments, but there eventual goal is elimination of the livestock industry, and no less. We need to recognize this, and modify our response appropriately.

We can fight the final battle now, or at the end when we have lost everything.

The opinions of Jennifer Campbell are not necessarily those of Indiana Prairie Farmer or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

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