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When my car doesn’t run right, I don’t call the salesman who sold it to me. Instead I call the expert, my mechanic, to guide me in the care and maintenance of my car. My car salesman may know a lot about my car, but it doesn’t mean he knows how my car was built or why it might be sputtering along like a lost turtle. On the other hand, I trust my mechanic to fix my car because that is what he does each day; he is the expert in repairing cars. Each of these individuals is great at their job but it doesn’t mean they can automatically do the other’s job.
Our family has been raising livestock for five generations. It’s a tradition we are proud of, and we hope our children will have the opportunity to follow in our path one day. Our animals rely on us seven days a week to care for them. We do this no matter what hour of the day it is or what day of the week it may be. Animal care is a top priority for our family, that’s why we rely on the expert advice of our veterinarian, nutritionist and other animal experts when it comes to the daily care we give our hogs and cattle. We use gestation stalls on our farm to protect our sows during their pregnancy from bully sows. The stalls also allow us to monitor feed intake of each individual sow and we can tailor their nutrition needs individually. If a sow isn’t eating, we know it right away and we can prevent problems from occurring. We also are able to give each sow individual hands on care daily by using the stalls. I can tell you for a fact that our animals are well cared for, content and comfortable. Until the animal experts we work with tell us there is a better way, we will continue to protect and care for our sows in this way.
I was so encouraged to hear that the stockholders of Domino’s Pizza share my stand on animal care. The company announced that it would rely on animal experts to determine what is the best way to raise an animal that’s being used for food. As a farmer, I respect Domino’s for its common sense decision and for trusting the experts in animal care.
I appreciate Domino’s respect for our veterinarians, nutritionists and animal scientists. These are the same experts our family relies on for animal care. Our veterinarian and nutritionist are not just experts on animal care, they are a part of our family farm management team and they are like family to us. That’s how closely we work with them; they know the nuts and bolts of our farm and family and they help us customize the care we give our livestock. Every farm is different, just as every person and breed of animal are different.
Domino’s decision speaks volumes to me as a farmer. It shows they trust the experts I trust. It shows they trust me. I appreciate that.
Domino’s trust also shows me that the pizza company does not want to force regulations on farmers that may not achieve their desired outcome. There is already a lot of consolidation in the number of hog farmers in America, and perhaps the sector declining the most is the number of independent hog farmers. We own our facilities and our animals. We have a big stake in the success of our business and in the happiness of those who buy pork from us. Mandating unrealistic time lines on family farmers regarding the animal care methods they choose could force more hog farmers out of business. I know that is not the goal of any company but the unintended consequences of these decisions can have a big impact to family farms like mine.
Members of my family, especially my kids, love pizza just about as much as they love farming. I think the next time we decide to have pizza, I’m going to show a little love back. I am going to buy a Domino’s pizza. For me, this means driving 45 minutes out of my way but I think it’s worth it to support a company that supports me. And it gives a vote of support to a company that leaves important decisions like animal care up to the experts!
While I’m at it, I think I will write a note to the local manager thanking his company for their decision. You can show your support for Domino’s too. During the weekend of May 18-20 many farmers and ranchers I know will be voting with their checkbooks by buying Domino’s pizza for their families as a sign of our appreciation.
Thank you Dominoes, for supporting our farm and ranch families.
Chris Chinn and her husband, Kevin are 5th generation farmers. They live on their family hog farm in Missouri with their two children. Their dream is for their children to have the opportunity be the 6th generation of farmers in our family.