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Take Time to Stop and Smell the Pig Sh*t


Kevin Kurbis

Stop and Smell

One of the best things about traveling, as I do for work, is getting to see all the soft shoulders, amazing curves, and lush bush...

I’m just talking about being on the Manitoba roads.

Where were you going with that?

On a serious note, how often do we take the time to appreciate the great things that are all around us?

While we are on the topic, have we taken a step to realize how the hog industry plays a big factor in all of it? Curious? Let me try to explain. 

It doesn’t matter whether you are from Manitoba or not, you can find the benefits of pigs all around.

First of all, if you don’t know all the uses for a pig, I suggest researching. It may surprise you to know that daily items we use can be traced back to pigs. I traced it to some of my favorite candy and beauty products. It never fails to shock and (possibly) disgust people.

Yet, to the point of the blog, do we realize how many acres of farmland are fertilized with hog manure?

I don’t care if you are looking at: the lush green corn and beans in Ontario, across the mid-west in the U.S, or the bright yellow canola in Manitoba. These fields have been helped along by a pig.


"When was the last time we considered the strength of our community?"


If you travel like I do (or even if you don’t), you likely have become blind to the beauty of these areas. Challenge yourself to take notice of the surroundings on the next long drive. I have, and it may surprise you how much it's been taken for granted.

How many of us were born and raised in a rural area, or now live out in the country/small towns?

When was the last time we considered the strength of our community?

Are we lucky enough to live in a place where people actually know each other and say hi, even if they don’t like each other?

These rural communities need an economy to survive, so people can keep living there. Even if people aren’t directly employed at a hog barn, all the spin-off industries are a critical part of the rural economy. The estimates vary, but here in Manitoba, it is calculated that at least 10,000 jobs and over 700 million dollars of economic activity can be directly attributed to the hog industry.

That number jumps to over 2 billion (yes with a “B”) once they figure in all the spin-off industries (trucking, slaughter houses, etc.). That is around 3% of the total economy, which is no small feat. I’m betting that doesn’t even include the housing, local sales (groceries, gas, etc.), and all the other economic spin-offs that occur by having people living close to their job.

I wouldn’t want to guess at how many miles I have put on in my career, driving through these areas that are considered dull and boring (drive down I-29 to Sioux Falls more than twice and you’ll get my point). I’ve seen more small towns and fields than I care to remember, and I can’t say I stopped to enjoy any of it.

That was until, one day a few years back. I was convicted while driving with the thought. What had I seen? The only things I could remember were hotel rooms and hog barns, but there was more along the way that I had missed.

A few weeks later, I loaded up the family, and did a drive down Highway 2 with a commitment to stop: at each town that had a museum, at each point of interest, and explain to the kids that, if they saw anything that interested them, we would stop. Two days later, we finally reached our destination of Melita. Normally a drive to Melita would take less than 4 hours, but not this time around. We were quite happy and amazed at what we experienced.

No matter where we live, or happen to travel to, I’ll bet there is something along the route worth stopping for. I don’t care if it’s a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that just happens to advertise “Best burger for 100 miles”, or the World’s Largest (fill in the blank). I suggest taking time to stop and see it . Try that best burger, enjoy the beauty of the countryside and the small communities that provide so much character along the way. They probably owe something to the hog industry.

So remember, as you are enjoying the surroundings, it never hurts to take time to stop and smell the pig sh*t.

Topics: Insider, Reflection


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