Ever met a bacon farmer? There are a lot of them right here in Ohio, on family farms that take great care in raising the bacon we love. Find out more about bacon, ham and pork chop farmers and meet Greg - at OhioPork.org

Bacon Beckons

That’s the experience of some Ohio pig farmers, anyway. Or is that hog farmers?

“We developed what we called the ‘bacon farmer’ campaign,” said Quinton Keeran of the Ohio Pork Producers Council.

From slogans like “Fork more Pork” and “The Other White Meat” to rebranding “hog farmers” as “pork producers,” caretakers of Ohio swine have long sought to turn a phrase in hopes of better connecting with eaters.

The idea for a bacon-centric campaign was sparked when a news story went viral last year about a looming shortage (which fortunately never materialized).

“It got just massive response,” Keeran remembered. “People are honestly scared about not having bacon.”

So how to get Ohioans to follow a passion for pork belly down the path back to the farm?

A 30-second clip posted on YouTube offers the basic ingredients of the campaign.
It opens with a softly lit image of sizzling bacon. In slow motion, a crispy strip is placed onto a BLT. The soulful soundtrack overlays an “Ohhhhhhhh Yeah.”

And then:“I’m Greg Kaffenbarger, and I’m a bacon farmer.”

Kaffenbarger, a Clark County Farm Bureau member, (he ordinarily prefers to be called a “hog farmer”) says the bacon farmer campaign was a fun way to connect with customers.

He sells most of his hogs to a meatpacking company. But he also sells to a few neighbors and a nearby butcher shop.

“(Pigs) are just a joy to work around,” said Kaffenbarger, who also raises crops and cattle. “It’s a rewarding experience.”

And tying the product on the shelf to farmers like Kaffenbarger is the ultimate goal of this effort.

“We know people are crazy about bacon,” Keeran said. “We’re connecting it directly with a person, someone that makes that possible.”

With a bit of fact as well as fun, the Ohio Hog Farmers Facebook page has grown from about 11,000 likes to more than 50,000 since the beginning of the year.

Scroll through the posts and you’ll find a lesson, of sorts, in language arts: “Exercise, Ex…er…cise, Ex…ar…cise, Eggs are sides, For Bacon… Bacon.” And in home economics: “USDA recommends cooking pork to 145 degrees.” Even in math: “Billy has 32 pieces of bacon. He eats 28. What does he have now? Happiness. Billy has happiness.”

“I certainly think we’ve struck something,” Keeran said. “It’s a bit of a revelation I guess.”
But before bacon steals the show, the Pork Producers Council will remind you there’s so much more to a pig. The group also does outreach under other (although less popular) labels—you can meet an Ohio “Ham Farmer” and “Pork Chop Farmer.”

However, Kaffenbarger admits that while a juicy pork chop is hard to resist, even a filet mignon gets wrapped with bacon.

“Everything’s better with bacon,” he laughed.

Adds Keeran: “Bacon is kind of what brought everybody together.”

Find recipes and tips on perfectly cooking bacon.