David Newman, a pork producer from south central Missouri, was recently elected as president of the National Pork Board. He sat down with the #RealPigFarming team to tell us a little bit more about himself and his family’s farm.
Real Pig Farming: Tell us a little about yourself. What’s your background in the industry?
David: My family runs a farrow-to-finish operation and specializes in direct marketing through our business Newman’s Farm Heritage Berkshire Pork. We work with the best restaurants in the United States, supplying them with high-end, high-quality pork. Much of our product ends up in restaurants in New York and California.
But even though our business is a little different than some, we’re farmers just the same. And I have always been a pig farmer — I was born into it. I grew up on a diversified livestock operation that also includes cattle and sheep operations. But our family’s primary business is pork, and we’ve been involved in many different facets of the pork industry in my lifetime.
I went to school at the University of Missouri and got an animal science degree there. Then I got my Ph.D. in meat science, muscle biology, from North Dakota State University. In addition to running my family’s farm I also have a research appointment with the University of Arkansas, where my research emphasis is on pork quality.
Real Pig Farming: Do you have other family members working with you on the farm?
David: We are the quintessential farm family. My wife, Kristin, runs the accounting side of our business. My mom and her husband live and work on the farm, just across the street from us. And my kids, Cody and Ava, do their part in age-appropriate ways, too.
Real Pig Farming: Why do you enjoy raising pigs?
David: I don’t think anyone has ever asked me that question! That’s a good one.
All I’ve ever known is pig farming. Even though we had beef cattle and we had sheep, too, pork is something our family has always been passionate about, so some of my passion may have been inherited.
Pigs are very intelligent animals, and they’re interesting to be around. But at the end of the day, I love the eating quality of pork. It is an extremely diverse — I would even go as far as saying it is the most diverse of all species — it is something you can be creative with.
Real Pig Farming: How do you demonstrate animal care on your farm?
David: You know, the We Care principles are pillars for the industry and they’re pillars for our family. Daily, though, every single person on our team is passionate about pork production and the animals under our care. And if you’re going to be sustainable, there’s nothing more sustainable than staying in business. And being a part of that model, and giving proper care is a critical component in that piece of sustainability.