American Farm Family: After 150 years in the industry, this Illinois family still shares a passion for pork

On this Farm Family Friday, we meet Illinois pork producer Pam Janssen, who’s on a mission to sustain her family’s farm legacy which is still going strong through seven generations and nearly 150 years of pig farming.

Pam Janssen is a dedicated pig farmer in Minonk, Illinois. In this week’s American Farm Family feature story, she opens up about her family’s century-spanning connection to the pork industry as well as the profound impact it has on their lives.

Janssen’s family has a long history in pig farming dating back to 1874 when their land was first homesteaded. Over the many generations since, the family farm has not only endured but has also embraced technological advancements, evolving with the ever-changing landscape of the world.

She proudly shares how she’s continued to raise the next generations, the three children of her own—two boys and a girl—and a granddaughter Brooklyn, on the way. To her, continuing her family’s legacy on the farm stands as a testament to their agricultural pursuits. The continuity of their family’s involvement in pig farming is a source of pride and a reminder of their commitment to the industry.

Feeding the World and Embracing Change

As pig producers, Janssen emphasizes their crucial role in feeding the world. Through adaptability and a commitment to staying abreast of industry trends and technological advancements, they ensure their farm remains sustainable.

“We, as producers, feed the world and are able to keep up with the industry, keep up with technology, and learn,” she said.

Janssen’s commitment extends beyond the boundaries of her farm. She encourages questions and dialogue about the industry, emphasizing the importance of transparency.

“I just hope that if anybody has questions or anything about our industry, to just ask so that everybody can see and understand how we do things, why we do things, and the love that we have for the family farm,” she said.

For her, the family’s operation is more than a business, but a legacy filled with love. She believes that passing down this legacy to the younger generation is a significant motivation for many farmers.

“It’s just special that the kids have that legacy,” Janssen said. “I think that’s the biggest thing in a lot of people’s hearts—that they want their kids to have a legacy.”

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