Alexis (14), Mason (7)
Live and Farm in:
A Farm of Their Own
Adam Meily has always been around pigs. He’s the sixth generation of his family to grow up farming, and he knew early on that he wanted to continue in his father’s footsteps.
“Shortly after high school, I enlisted in the National Guard and got deployed for a year,” Adam says. “By then, my parents had taken a less active role on the farm, so when I came back, I told them I wanted some land and a farm to raise my family on.”
Today, Adam and his wife, Melissa—who learned the ways of the farming world after they met—live with their two children on a farm they purchased five years ago. “This is the third pig farm I’ve owned,” he says proudly.
Hard Work Is a Family Affair
Adam credits his farming background for instilling the values of strong community involvement and a tireless work ethic. “Farming is part of our family. No one gets a free pass on the work that needs to be done,” Adam explains. “There are times where you need to be there, you’re expected to be there and you’re going to be there. You look back and you see that that’s a positive experience rather than a negative one.”
Adam hopes to pass that work ethic—and eventually the family farm—down to his own children. Luckily, their son, Mason, is already showing interest in taking it over; their daughter, Alexis, meanwhile, is learning responsibility by caring for show steers after school. Because of the farm’s size, the family can keep many of their operations in-house rather than outsourcing them to someone else, allowing them to be relatively self-sustaining.
Beyond family, the Meilys attribute much of their success to their community involvement. Both were elected to six-year terms in the local government: Adam is a township supervisor, Melissa is an auditor.
“I made the commitment that I was going to run. The majority of the work is around road care and infrastructure,” Adam explains. Even though the call to serve sometimes comes at inopportune moments—“the obligations come in waves,” he says—Adam honors the commitment because “others are counting on you to represent the community.”
Melissa, meanwhile, is responsible for the annual audit. “It’s not as big a commitment,” she says, and it’s “very different from pig farming.”
Doing Right By Their Animals
The Meilys are especially proud of the way they raise their pigs. “Doing the right thing for the animal—whether that’s an environmental or health matter—is especially important,” Adam says. “We’re trying to minimize the stress on the pig so it doesn’t have any bad days during its time with us.”
That care for their pigs is what the Meilys say the general public understands least about pork. It’s hard for many Americans to even imagine daily life on a pig farm, Adam continues. “In terms of animal welfare and the environment, the misconception is that farmers just do what they need to do and don’t worry about anyone or anything else,” he says. “But it’s really 180 degrees from that.”
The Meilys rely on the latest technologies to make sure everything in the barn is state-of-the-art, Adam explains. From touchscreens for controllers to other future improvements for the farm, it all comes back to giving their pigs the best care possible.
“We’re able to sustain the rest of our farm with the income we get from raising pigs,” Adam continues. “I feel safe. I know I’m working for a company that has a long-term vision. I know I’m getting paid. If you talk to a lot of dairy farmers right now, they wouldn’t say the same thing.”
At the end of the day, he adds, “We have pride in the pigs we’re raising because of how we treat them.”
“Farming is part of our family. No one gets a free pass on the work that needs to be done.”