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Don’t use the P-word …

In developing this blog, I made it a goal to keep my thoughts and tales centered on topics that have an outdoor connection. This will be as close as I come to swaying from that.

And because I spend several days every other winter chasing wild hogs off the coast of Georgia … And because one of my best hunting buddies is a hog farmer in Iowa, I could argue that the connection remains close enough to hunting for me to blog about!

Eating pork will not give you the H1N1 (don’t call it the p-word) virus. It’s that simple. Somehow, just the unfortunate connection of the words “pig” and “swine” to the much-reported virus has put hog farming into a bad place. North Carolina is the No. 2 pork-producing state in the country and the producers that make up much of the state’s eastern region are about to lose everything. It’s a shame.

Already strapped with having to deal with higher than normal grain prices and commodity prices that are driving just the cost of business through the roof, the pork industry is reeling thanks to a media circus that has been caused by the ballyhoo associated with this crappy H1N1 (don’t call it the p-word) virus.

So what can we do about it? It’s simple. Slap more pork chops on the grill. Put a big fat pork picnic in your smoker and chop it up as barbecue. Roll pork tenderloin in foil and throw it in the oven. Or even make bacon a staple of your morning breakfast.

My family is not big – we roll only three deep. And one of those can eat no more than three ounces of pork as a toddler. That said, we’re making a commitment to eating nothing but pork as our main dish for each meal all of next week (12/14-12/19). Will it bring the pork industry out of the hole? Nope. Is it our little way of doing our part? We hope so. But imagine if 1,000 families decided to do that for a week. Or better yet, imagine if a county of 10,000 families opted to do that for a week.

The beef industry suffered a similar fate a decade or so ago when it dealt with Mad Cow Disease. It still suffers from the aftereffects of that. I know, because it directly impacted my family’s farms. Here’s hoping as many hog farmers as possible make it through this current downtime. Maybe you too can help make a little difference.

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