On this week’s episode of The Rural Woman Podcast, you’ll hear from Andrea Elias. Andrea is the manager at a farrow to finish hog operation in Southern Manitoba. She has worked in the hog industry for the majority of her life and has a passion for her industry that you’ll hear in today’s interview.
Andrea grew up on a mixed grain, cattle and hog farm withher parents and 3 siblings. She started learning about and helping with chores from as early as she can remember. Andrea helped with the grain side occasionally, but being with the livestock was always her favourite part. They had around 50 cow/calf pair beef cattle, and a small 10 sow farrow to finish barn, and sold market hogs throughout the year. Andrea received her first pig from her parents, a pregnant gilt for helping with the livestock, when she was 8. Her piglets from each litter were Andrea’s responsibility. When her parents closed down the herd when she was 11 it was a sad time for her as she missed the pigs and her daily chores.
Andrea knew early on that she wanted to work with animals. She chose Lakeland College in Vermilion, Alberta as her destination to get her Animal Health Technology diploma upon completion of high school. Her goal was to work in a large animal vet clinic as a vet tech.
Andrea has worked in multiple sectors of the hog industry including a farrow-wean facility, a position at a boar stud, and even behind a desk for swine management company.
Andrea loves what she does, and her goal with her social media account was to share what goes on behind the walls of the farrow to finish hog operation she currently works at. They practice bio security which doesn’t allow them to openly show what they do with open houses or tours, because they are trying to protect the health of their animals. She wanted people to see a working hog farm, and that pigs are raised ethically and humanely, that no matter the size of the farm that people care for the animals and all have the same goal; to make sure that they are producing safe, healthy pork for consumers.
Along with Andrea on this journey, she has her husband (of almost 17 years!) Steve, who owns an independent seed sales business (corn, beans, grasses/alfalfa etc) and silage products, and their two kiddos who are 14 and 12. They’re super supportive of Andrea and she loves taking them with to help with barn chores. They live in a small village on a couple of acres with our 30 laying hens, cats and a dog. She loves having her in-laws cattle in their backyard as well.
Review of The Week
Informative. Relatable. Enjoyable.
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – RunningMamaC via Apple Podcasts
“Thanks for a farm podcast that is so fun to listen to, as well as informative. I am so glad to have found an agriculture podcast for women by an Alberta farm girl!”
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