(Indianapolis, IN) - Her life on a hog farm became even more heavenly from being recognized for her dedicated efforts to the industry. Heather Hill, who grew up in La Porte County, is this year’s recipient of the Producer Meritorious Service Award from Indiana Pork. “It’s very humbling to be recognized by my fellow producers for such a prestigious honor,” she said.
Hill, 43, didn’t grew up on a farm but her childhood home on two acres was used to raise a handful of pigs, sheep and rabbits. Her mother, Anna, grew up on hog farm. She encouraged her children to enroll in 4-H and care for the animals they showed during the LaPorte County Fair. “My parents made sure that agriculture was important to my siblings and I and it really became a passion of mine,” Hill said.
The former Heather Eskridge, after graduating from La Porte High School, was pursuing her animal sciences degree at Purdue University when she met her future husband, Marc, a fourth generation hog farmer. The couple along with his parents, Steve and Debbie, operate a 600 head farrow to finish hog farm near Greenfield east of Indianapolis.
Hill, actively involved with Indiana Pork since 2009, was president of the organization for two-years. For the past four-years, she’s been a member of the National Pork Board and continues to serve the Board of Directors for Indiana Pork in an advisory role. Hill is also a leader with the Hancock County branch of 4-H and serves on the National Future Farmers of America Career Development Sales Committee.
A vast majority of the pigs on her farm are sold to Tyson for processing at its plant in Logansport. The rest are used for meat she and her mother in-law offer under their private label “The Pork Shop” at farmers markets and a local orchard.
Hill said her motivation to get involved is from a desire to make sure the livestock industry continues to be healthy for current and future producers. One way of doing that is educating people the livestock industry is a responsible care taker of its animals and the environment.
The Hill’s have three children ages 11 to 18. “We don’t know if they want to be involved in the industry or not but my husband and I feel very strongly that we need to be involved today to be their voice so they have the opportunity to be involved in the future if they so choose,” she said.