Proving the Power of the Internet

“Musings of a Pig Farmer”
by Larry Sailer

This past week has been a whirlwind of activity. Not only am I trying to get my crops harvested, but I’ve been swamped with calls from the media for interviews. In just two days’ time, I received calls from Reuter’s, Fox News Network and a network from Japan! This is on top of the Franklin County’s Harvest Tour 2012 for bloggers.

These media inquiries really took me by surprise and served as a real eye opener to me about the power of the Internet. A hog farmer — in the middle of farm country in North Central Iowa — is not someone or someplace that comes readily to mind as the center of media attention. Through Google and interviews and blogs, however, it’s not possible to hide on the farm any more.

When I set out to share the story of farming and to listen to what people removed from the farm were concerned about, I didn’t really think about how exposed I would become. I have to tell you this farmer would just as soon hide in the hog barn as be in the spotlight. Yet, here I am being featured by national media outlets. Crazy!

The first interview with Reuter’s was pretty painless. We talked on the phone for about 10 minutes, discussing the “Farm Bill”. Pretty easy stuff. I always try to talk about what I know and what affects me here in Iowa. The Farm Bill is such a complicated piece of legislation that I’m not surprised it’s so difficult to reach consensus. Not only is farming and ranching very diverse across this country, but the SNAP program and so many other issues are wrapped up in the same bill. On top of that, Congress is trying to reduce the budget. No wonder the Farm Bill has yet to pass!

Fox News wanted to talk about the upcoming election and what I think are the most important issues. Now I know they’re going to trim what I say into about 15 or maybe 30 seconds. Believe me, that does not cover my thoughts. I can’t wait to view it this Thursday to see what Fox chose as my sound bite. They did video our soybean harvest to give viewers a farming flavor.

The next video crew was from Japan, and they were on my farm for two full days. This will have to be a whole new blog, which I plan to post in a couple weeks.

I do want to talk about our Franklin County Harvest Bloggers Tour, which is held (1) to showcase our county’s tourism attractions and (2) to help non-farmers understand how their food is raised. This is the second year that I’ve been involved with this event. I’m including pictures shared by Deb Brown. Pictures show the people involved much better than I can describe this tour.

The first bloggers tour in October 2011 is the reason I blog. That and the help and patience of Shannon Latham, who lets me share a guest blog every Tuesday on

I survived last week and even harvested some crop with the help of my family. Special thanks to my wife, Janice, who kindly made food and ran after me for three days. My son Corey and grandson Devin drove combine plus daughter Charlotte helped make food and brought along more Grandkids, Darin and Carlie, to make my place a little more video friendly.

I can understand why many farmers resist doing this type of sharing because it does take time and effort. Plus, it exposes a very personal part of our lives to the world. But if we want to have a conversation with the people who consume what we produce — and help them understand why we do what we do — then we need to be transparent. We must let them see inside our operations.