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“Fredbird” visits two area families

Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at 8:59 am

“Fredbird” recently visited the Cox family in Martinsburg, Mo.

“Fredbird” recently paid a visit to farms near Middletown and Martinsburg as part of a co-op between the St. Louis Cardinals and Missouri Farmers Care.
The Cardinals’ mascot visited Fisher Hog Farm near Middletown, and the Cox farm near Martinsburg. Both farms are a part of Missouri Farmers Care’s mission to better educate the public on how its food is raised.
Missouri Farmers Care is a joint effort of all commodity food groups in Missouri. 2012 marks the third year the group has teamed with the Cardinals.
“Some people don’t know where their food comes from and how it’s raised,” Jim Fisher, of Fisher Hog Farm said. “We take great pride and care in raising food. We eat the same food that  we raise and sell.”
It’s different than it used to be. Fisher said kids in the cities used to visit their country cousins and get a real taste of life on the farm and how everyone’s food is produced.
“We don’t have that anymore,”  he said.
Enter Missouri Farmers Care. Fisher Hog Farm is a farrow-to-wean operation, meaning the farm fosters piglets from the time they are born to when they are weaned. At that point, the piglets weigh about 14 pounds and are about 21 days old.
The farm has 2,600 sows and sells between 1,200 and 1,300 weaned piglets a week. The next step for the piglets — which is done at a separate producer’s outfit ­— is to grow to about 280 pounds before being sold again to market, in this case Hormel Foods.
Founded in 1957 by Fisher’s father, Ed,  the operation is now headed by Fisher and his brother,  David. In 2011, Fisher Hog Farm received the first Environmental Stewardship Award from the Missouri Pork Association (MPA) for its manure and environmental management practices.
The video of “Fredbird’s” visit to the Fisher Hog Farm is located at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ix89hiCw_Pk
The Cox farm sits about five miles west of Martinsburg. Jamie Cox, owner and operator, maintains 1,100 acres of soybeans, and  500 acres of corn. It’s the first year the farm has been associated with Missouri Farmers Care, but the farm has been working with similar groups in connection to the same cause, such as Missouri Common Ground.
“We’re all trying to do the same thing — promote agriculture,” Cox said.
For its part, the Cox farm was spotlighted with the Missouri Soybean Association.
This year is also the first for the Cox farm to work with “Fredbird” and the Cardinals.

“Fredbird” enjoys time with the Fishers.

“It was fun, “Fredbird” came out for an afternoon of pictures,” Cox said. “He is quite the character to have around on the farm.”
Cox said his father started farming in the 50s, and he hopes to keep the tradition of “from our gate to your plate” with his children.
“The hard work we do helps keep everyone fed,” he said.
Watch the video on “Fredbird’s” visit at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNbis2g1F_w