Kendra grew up in rural Ontario, but didn’t grow up a farmer’s daughter. Instead she grew up an animal lover that was always curious as to what a farm life was like.
She was so interested in working in agriculture, that she took a job for a nearby pig farmer when she was still in high school. That started out as a part-time job on weekends and summer months and quickly turned into a passion. Graduating in agriculture from the Ridgetown Campus of the University of Guelph, Kendra now is now a full-time caretaker of a sow herd.
A sow is a female pig, old enough to give birth to piglets and Kendra spends her day at work caring for those mothers and the piglets. “Everyday is different, which is something I love about my job, “ says Kendra. “From feeding the sows to checking every animal in the barn to ensure they are eating properly and are healthy, we take the care of each one very seriously.” But that is just the first chore of the morning. Kendra also weighs piglets to ensure they remain healthy, checks expectant mothers with an ultrasound and makes sure that any sow giving birth is getting along well.
If you ask Kendra about all the jobs she is responsible for, what she likes the most – she has a hard time answering. “I love so much of it, but working with the piglets can always cheer you up.” She also likes waiting for those piglets to be born. “Doing an ultrasound and being able to see the piglets is amazing, especially when you can see the piglets heart beat.”
Besides caring for the pigs, Kendra continues to become more interested and more passionate about sharing the stories from the sow barn. “When I would talk to my friends that didn’t have a background on the farm, I was really surprised with some of their positions on farming and on pork production. A lot of them simply weren’t true.” Then in one of her college classes, a farmer came to give a lecture on using social media and Kendra quickly learned its’ power in talking about the true stories from the barn. “Trying to break some of the misconceptions by simply giving a consumer factual information directly from the farm is something I now really enjoy.”
Besides her love of working in the barn (and tweeting from it), Kendra is passionate about a number of other things. Her own ‘herd’ consists of a dog (his name is Moose), cat, hedgehog and ferrets, all of which she enjoys caring for and playing with. You can occasionally find her walking, hiking, or even on the back of a horse heading through the rural Ontario she never plans on leaving. And when the weather turns nasty, she turns on the oven and can’t help but bake up a storm.