Education & Agriculture

Maschhoffs MapThe Maschoffs new Farm-to-Table Experience, an interactive digital tool which explains the steps involved in raising a pig from start to finish, was introduced last week at a stakeholder event at the company’s Carlyle headquarters.Maschhoffs speakerJennifer Tirey, executive director of Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA), said The Maschhoffs new interactive map will be a great tool for IPPA to tell the story of Illinois’ pork industry and to educate state legislators, many of whom are not familiar with farm life. The three-dimensional map can be found at    It’s not every day that the public has a chance to interact with pigs and the people who raise them. To help bridge that gap, The Maschhoffs recently created the Farm-to-Table Experience, an interactive digital tool to explain the process of raising a pig from start to finish. The completed project was officially launched on Aug. 1 at a stakeholder event held at the company’s headquarters in Carlyle.
    “Today, less than 2 percent of the U.S. population is working in agriculture,” says Dr. Bradley Wolter, president of The Maschhoffs. “Many people have no connection to who produced the food they eat. The map will serve as a tool on The Maschhoffs’ website for consumer audiences to learn more about what goes into raising the pork they buy. We have a huge opportunity to share our story with consumers, and it’s one to be proud of.”
    Pork producers, like The Maschhoffs, have been large contributors to the growth of the industry over the last 50 years. According to the National Pork Board, U.S. pork production has nearly doubled in that time frame while using 78 percent less land and 41 percent less water per pound of pork produced — reducing the carbon footprint by 35 percent. Advancement in areas like genetics, nutrition and resource management have been large contributors to this.
    “Even if you work in a barn every day, you likely don’t realize all the support functions that make it possible to raise a pig such as feed mills, health services, nutrition, environmental services, accounting, animal care, marketing and logistics, etc.,” Wolter said. “The Farm-to-Table Experience brings all these functions together to provide a ‘big picture’ explanation on how The Maschhoffs raises pigs.”
    The interactive, three-dimensional map can be found at Users can click on the “north” side of the roadway to highlight the various steps in the pig production process while the “south” side of the road focuses on the functions that support raising high-quality pigs. The user can drag to different “hot spots” on the map to click in and learn more. 
    For instance, click on “Boar Stud” to learn how the genetics team works behind the scenes to ensure that the herd is always improving. 

    Users can select “Breed-to-Wean Farm” to learn more about the sow farms, the foundation of the company, where workers are responsible for using artificial insemination to breed the gilts and sows. Once the pig begins farrowing, the team cares for the mothers and her litter.
    Users can also click on a variety of other hot spots — Gilt Developer, Finishing Farm, Packing Facility, Grocery Store and Consumer Home — to learn more about the process. 
    There are also hot spots for a variety of support functions — Production Managers and Partners, Truck Wash locations, Resource Loop, Maschhoffs University, Veterinarians, Regional Offices, Feed Mills and, finally The Maschhoffs headquarters.
    Each spot has an explanation of the area as well as corresponding pictures and captions to tell the full story. This interactive set-up enables the user to get as in-depth as they want to learn about the process.
    Josh Flint, associate director of Communication and People Projects at The Maschhoffs, said the company worked with Paradowski Creative, a creative design team from St. Louis, which used innovative technology to make their vision a reality. The interactive nature of the map provides the user the chance to be in control of their experience, he said.
    “With this Farm-to-Table Experience, users can gain a deep understanding of how we produce enough pork to feed 16 million people each year,” Flint said. “We are extremely pleased with the result and are looking forward to seeing the value this map brings to our business as well as the pork industry.”
    Jennifer Tirey, executive director of Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA), said the new map will be an invaluable tool for her agency to use in educating the public about the pork industry. 
    “Our challenge as an lllinois  pork producer organization is to help tell that story not only by representing our nearly 2,000 pork producers who are part of our association, including the Maschhoff family and many of their production partners, but also to educate the general consumers,” Tirey said. “This interactive map is a great way to talk to consumers about how the production chain works.”
    She is also excited to have the opportunity to present it to state legislators. 
    “Unlike Rep. (Charlie) Meier, who is a great advocate of agriculture and from a rural area, more and more of our legislative folks are from the urban area,” Tirey said. “We’re also looking at more than 30 new state legislators who are going to be coming into the General Assembly, so that’s a whole new batch of legislators who we have to educate and tell our story to.”  
    State Rep. Charlie Meier, who runs his family farm in Okawville, concurred.
    “We had hogs on our farm until we expanded to dairy in 1979,” he said. “I know a lot about raising hogs. People and my colleagues in Springfield and the people who come in our offices, they don’t know anything about farm life. 
    “They don’t know the commitment you have for taking care of the animals,” Meier continued. “They don’t understand what I had to do last Sunday: running into a burning barn to get the cattle out (after a hay fire broke out on his farm). They don’t understand that, so tools like this will help us immensely.”
    There are currently two active farmers serving in the House and Senate in Springfield, Meier said. Fortunately,  that number is expected to grow with a few more people from the agriculture industry seeking office this fall.
    Meier expressed appreciation to the Maschhoff family for helping to grow agriculture in southern Illinois. 
    “What I’ve seen as we’ve  watched The Maschhoffs grow is that the next generation is staying on the farm. These farms that wouldn’t be big enough to have the next generation stay, now have the income because they are working with the Maschhoff family. They have a facility there, they have the people doing the background, they have the masterminds and the vets and the doctors to help with their operations.”
    Meier noted that 1 in 6 jobs in Illinois is directly related to agriculture, still, he said, “We have people wanting to fight livestock farms from top to bottom.”
    He stressed that more education is needed at the state level, and The Maschhoffs’ digital map will help with that. 
    “The people talk with their mouths full and they forget about where that food comes from,” Meier said. “To them, it’s coming from Wal-Mart, it’s coming from Sam’s. A tool like this will help us tell our story and hopefully this tool helps all of our other agriculture industries go out and promote themselves. We have to promote ourselves to the public. We can’t sit back —when we’re this small of a part of the population — and expect people to think about us, because they don’t.” 
    He continues, “I’m thrilled that this is coming out. I hope that it will help us in our fight to protect ag in the state of Illinois and we keep growing more jobs here. These are jobs that are keeping our kids in Illinois on their family farms so that those 400- or 500-acre farms are still profitable for them. To the Maschhoff family and all of their employees, I want to say thank you again for all that they’ve done for us.”
    To view the interactive map and to learn more about The Maschhoffs visit www.the
    About The Maschhoffs - Progressive Farming. Family Style. 
    The Maschhoffs, LLC is a hog production company headquartered in Carlyle. The company has over 100 years of hog production experience, and is the largest family owned hog producer network in North America, with nearly 215,000 sows and market hog production sites in nine states. The company has approximately 1,200 employees who, along with about 500 independent farm partners, focus on creating environmentally and economically sustainable hog production systems. Each year, the company raises enough hogs to provide pork to more than 16 million consumers. The company, through a wholly owned subsidiary, also sells branded pork products to retailers, processors and foodservice operators under the Maschhoff Family Farms brand label. Visit for more information.

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