4 Things 'Bachelor' Chris Soules Taught Me About Pigs
It's something that no one could stop talking about on night one of The Bachelor with Chris Soules: Did he or did he not raise pigs on his farm? The hot-button issue was soon resolved (he does raise pigs, but he does not inseminate them himself. Sorry Whitney Bischoff). But, now that he's no longer the Bachelor (although he's still a bachelor... sorry Whitney Bischoff), Soules is back to farming corn and soybeans and pigs in Arlington, Iowa. His dedication to his family farm is admirable, especially because he doesn't just concentrate on his own contributions to the field of farming. (Yes, that was a farm pun.) Soules is so invested in pig farming that he goes out of his way to foster relationships with other pig farmers and talk about the trade in hopes of encouraging young people to join the profession.
I never thought I'd get to talk to Chris Soules (although I did visit Arlington once, which is as close as I ever thought I'd get to him) and I definitely never thought I would talk to Chris Soules about pigs. But, I did, and he taught me a lot about the "exciting" pig farming industry (his words). So, I figured you might like to learn some things too. Therefore I present: Four things Chris Soules taught me about pigs.
1. There's An Award For Pig Farmers
It's the first time the porkcares.org America's Pig Farmer of the Year award has been given out, and the lucky 2015 recipient is Keith Schoettmer, a farmer from Tipton, Indiana. Soules says the award is given based on a set of criteria like "responsibly raising pigs, ... being a stand-up person in the community, and just doing things in the pig industry the right way." Schoettmer, who joined Soules for the interview with Bustle, was thrilled to win the award, and understands his responsibility to the public. For him pig farming is about "recognizing [farmers'] responsibility for food safety and putting a product in front of the consumer that they can be confident that it’s a safe product for them."
I'm much more aware now of the work that goes into responsibly farming pork products. And by "much more aware" I mean "aware at all," because prior to this my knowledge of pork was that it was a white meat and my mom serves it with applesauce. And, that one time my dad cut a chicken breast into a square to try to convince me it was pork because I was going through a no-chicken phase, and he wanted me to eat my dinner. I wasn't fooled, don't worry.
2. Animal Welfare Is Important To The Farmers
Yes, eventually the farmers' pigs are butchered for meat, but Soules says, up until then, they are given the best care. (Yay?) Although he didn't go into detail about how they're given that care, he did say it was important to him and to Schoettmer. "Every day we wake up we’re going out there and doing what we love to do. And, it’s something that we want to pass on to our children and our children’s children," Soules says. (#PigFarmersForever.) "The only way that we can be successful is that we take the best possible care of those pigs while they’re on this earth that we can possibly do. That is the key to our success ... And we really do care for our animals and it’s the number one priority."
So, you know, hopefully they can turn around.
3. Everybody Loves Pork
Pork is the number one consumed meat in the world. And, why is that? "I think there’s a couple of real main reasons," Soules tells Bustle. "One: It’s lean and extremely nutritious and high in protein. The other reason is because of bacon." #BecauseOfBacon, guys. Always #BecauseOfBacon.
4. The Pig Industry Is Really Exciting
Take it from Soules, this is apparently the industry to be in right now. "The advances that are occurring with technology ... and the people who are involved in it make it one of the most exciting industries in the world," he says. "And there’s a lot of opportunity to be a part of it and to be able to do something where you’re hands-on and outside ... I think it’s an extremely exciting place for young people today."
Schoettmer agrees, saying he's proud to be apart of an industry where people love the work they do. "It’s a very, very rewarding career just to be able to take care of animals ... there’s a lot of people who do have that passion in them and that desire to take care of animals. And, those are the people we seek out to work in this industry."
And, there you have everything I know about pigs thanks to the former Bachelor. And, now enjoy this photo of Chris Soules and a giant pig. You're welcome.