Bloggers, restaurant chefs, writers and consumers visited St. Louis area farms to gain an understanding of how food is produced.
For Danyelle Little, a professional career and lifestyle blogger, it was her first trip to any livestock farm. "I have been to vegetable farms," she said. "But no, nothing ever like this."
The St. Louis mother of two young children shared that she is careful what she feeds her children. "I like to know where food comes from. For me, I just see it at the grocery store."
The farm tour, sponsored by Missouri Farmers Care, took attendees to a pork and grain farm and a beef farm. There were also able to hear from a Missouri dairy farm during a luncheon.
Individual attention for sows
Rick Rehmeier opened the doors of his farrowing house for a look at hog production. Rehmeier produces 4 million pounds of pork per year at his hog and grain farm near the small town of Augusta. His sows give birth in crates, which he explained is beneficial for not only the baby pigs providing them space away from their mothers, but also the sow. "We are able to give her individualized attention," he says. "There is no fighting for feed. And sows need feed to produce milk."
His operation does not include automated feeders, so Rehmeier provides just the right amount of feed to produce the all milk requirements for the pigs. "At least twice a day, someone is in here checking on our sows and pigs. I like that interaction."
Near the town of Pacific, Bill McLaren also takes time to feed his beef cattle. However, on this day, it is apples. Cows and calves took the sweet treat straight from McLaren's hands. He is the fourth generation to operate a beef farm in Franklin County, running a 26-head cow herd.