Name: Kim Griffin
County/State: Randolph County, North Carolina
Association: North Carolina Pork Council
Type of farming operation: 1200 sow farrow to ween.
Family: Married with a daughter.
Kim Griffin began her livestock production career in poultry, even earning a degree from NC State in Poultry Science. About 15 years ago she switched to hogs, running a 1,200 sow farrow-to-wean operation in Randolph County. While married with a daughter, she runs the operation single handedly. This year, she’s the president of the North Carolina Pork Council and feels that employee and producer training, as well as consumer education are a couple of the primary functions of the Council:
“We try to keep our elected officials updated on all of our concerns, and also the needs and achievements that we are trying to accomplish in the pork industry. We also do a lot of research and producer education, we try to find new ways to better our job and share that information with our producers. For example, we have a several programs that help to get all of our farms and employees certified. We also promote to our consumers and keep them aware of how we produce their pork as well as how we cook pork properly by providing great recipes.”
For instance, the guidelines for cooking pork have changed over the years, and Griffin says that pork consumption would probably increase if more consumers followed the new cooking guidelines:
“We are trying to get the information out to the consumer right now that they should be cooking their whole muscle cut of pork to 145 degrees instead of the 160 it was in the past. This one piece of information will make a world of difference of how people enjoy their pork products.”
Input costs, and the effects of the Midwestern drought on corn & soybean production is one of the biggest challenges facing pork production today according to Griffin:
“Our biggest challenge today will be the higher input costs, especially in the price and availability of corn. Our main source of corn and soybeans are farmed out in the Midwest, which is in the midst of a terrible drought right now. With the lack of availability of these crops, it is a big concern to all of the producers here in North Carolina.”
And of course, many a pork producer is loosing sleep over animal activist groups making inroads into meat production in this country:
“We are also looking at the agendas of the animal activists here. They are creating a frenzy against animal agriculture and that includes hog farming. The information they have is twisted truth and lies at the worst. Their efforts create big demands on our producers to make changes, and with those changes it costs the producers, and they are not able to pass those costs along. That is one of the biggest challenges we see today.”
Regarding her one goal for her year as president of the council, Griffin says it’s awareness of childhood hunger in the Tarheel State:
“One of our goals is to increase awareness of the partnership between the North Carolina Pork Council and the seven Food bank here in North Carolina. The Food Effect is an online network that we designed to educate and involve people in our state in the fight against childhood hunger. North Carolina is one of the worst when it comes to childhood hunger statistics, one out of every five children are faced with a lack of food. We are trying to educate the public about this problem we have here in our state. In our first year of the Food Effect program, we have made more than 300,000 people aware of this epidemic and we have referred more than 2000 volunteers to the food bank. In addition we have raised $130,000 for the food bank.”
Visit their website at www.thefoodeffect.org