"...But, what about pigs?"

Vernon Sloan has always self-identified as “just an old pig farmer from Williams County, OH.”  He and his wife, Carol, have been deeply involved with Foods Resource Bank (FRB) since its inception, as visionaries, planners, growing project leaders, and board directors.  They’ve also joined FRB on visits to program communities in the developing world, and are heartened by the many ways FRB “grows lasting solutions to hunger.”  

As FRB grew and its overseas programs began to include small animals – rabbits, goats and chickens for their potential for a fast turnaround on protein – Vernon would occasionally ask, “But, what about pigs?”

Well, several of FRB’s programs (in Colombia, Serbia, and Nicaragua, to name a few) now include improved pigs, often crossing them with native animals to combine improved red meat production with the hardiness of local breeds.  The local communities make the decision, when appropriate, to include pigs.  FRB, its implementing member organizations and their in-country partners provide training and access to the improved breeds.  In the Colombia-Sincelejo program, Durocky Landran pigs offer less fat, increased length and lean muscling.

FRB’s Serbia-Smederevo program, cross-bred market pigs increase protein in the diets of over 1000 beneficiaries and provide a new source of income to struggling families.  Introducing breeds of more prolific Large White sows crossed with Hampshire boars has resulted in greater production of fast-growing, meaty market pigs in the Nicaragua-Farmer program.

While always increasing vegetables in the diet, the use of pigs where appropriate to the local context has improved household nutrition and income for a growing number of farm families which participate in FRB’s food security programs.

Vernon is gratified. And, as a former pig farmer from Missouri, so am I.

By Norm Braksick, FRB Volunteer Regional Field Staff

02/27/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment