7 years ago

New All-Natural Premium Pork: Meet our pork farmers

Scott Kersting, Director of Meat and Seafood, shares the feel-good story behind Lunds and Byerly’s new, all-natural premium pork.

It’s pitch black and the air is heavy with early morning dew. The alarm clock breaks through the silence. Steve and Missy Hennen have an important day ahead of them. But then again, every day is important when you have 600 mouths to feed.

Not to worry. These are the professionals.

Steve and Missy rouse their children, share a family breakfast and head out the door to put in a long, hard day of work like they have done for the past 26 years. Their craft and livelihood are rooted deep in Midwest family tradition, immense passion for those they care for, and a strong belief in hard work.

After all, running a hog farm is no small feat.

The Hennen Farm is one of two local, family farms in Minnesota and Iowa where the livestock for our new line of all-natural premium pork is raised. From the pigs’ humane and crate-free living environment to the absence of hormones and antibiotics to a vegetarian diet free of animal by-products, our pork farmers respect the livestock, land, and resources for which they are entrusted. We’re proud to have the Hennen Farm as a new partner in our efforts to provide you with the best pork possible!

Located near Marshall, Minn., the Hennen Farm is not your typical hog farm. Family farms that actually birth the pigs (known as farrowing) and then raise them are becoming a rarity, which is one of many reasons Steve and Missy love their work. “We’ve always liked the birthing process,” Steve said, “and our children’s love of piglets has now refueled our love of pigs even more.”

Steve and Missy are no strangers to the pork industry. “When you grow up on a farm,” Missy explained, “you learn good work ethics that carry through your whole life.” They were both raised on hog farms their fathers started back in the 1960s and have been diligently working with pigs ever since.

Their farm currently has approximately 300 sows that each farrow about 2 times per year, meaning the Hennens can have 600 pigs to care for at any given time. During the gestation period, their sows are in deeply-bedded, open pens and able to go outside. The sows are moved to a separate barn for farrowing, where they can turn around in their pens, but not enough to harm the newborn pigs. Each pen is also equipped with pads to keep the pigs dry, as opposed to straw that can cause heat exhaustion or disease. 

Once the new pigs are born, they stay on the Hennen Farm for three to four weeks and then go to nurseries (also known as finishing barns). Steve explained that it’s better to have separate sites for farrowing, finishing and processing because it prevents disease. Separate locations for each stage also means those sites are able to be smaller and disinfected more often because pigs are there for shorter amounts of time.

The biggest change since Steve and Missy began their hog farm has been consumer curiosity. More and more people want to know how their food is grown and where it comes from. And the Hennens are happy to show you. “We love our farm because we can educate people on how pigs are raised,” Missy said proudly. “Consumers should know where their food comes from; I think it’s great they want to know more about their food!”

Our new, all-natural premium pork comes from livestock that is cared for from birth to finish. Visit our meat department to pick some up today and enjoy the good feelings that go along with it.