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Pig farmer proves that great ideas can come from anywhere

Here's a story with a great moral to it. If you're observant, then you can come up with a brilliant solution to a problem. And it doesn't matter if you went to a fancy design school for it or just need to solve a problem.

Canadian pig farmer Mary Haugh had a problem; multiple heart attacks put her husband out of commission, and she alone had to somehow control and herd their 3,000 hogs through the barn. Traditional methods of getting pigs to move are to use a stick, an electric prod or a "chase board," a length of wood the farmer wields horizontally to angle the pigs in a particular direction.

Haugh then came up with a roller that dispenses a swath of red cloth--a sort of farm version of the retractable "lane guides" that movie theaters use. Working with her brother Peter Jones, a mechanical engineer, she developed a 30-pound stainless steel prototype that retracted fabric like a windowshade and could unspool 50 feet of material. The pair also designed it so one end could attach to existing stabling, enabling one-person operation.

The resulting product rolls up neatly, can easily be carried and deployed by one person, and meets Canadian standards for biosecurity as it can be washed with the pressure washers most farmers already own to clean other equipment. More importantly, it works far better than anything that came before it--testing trials reveal it saves 70% of the time needed to herd hogs, which translates to hours per week.

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Pig farmer proves that great ideas can come from anywhere

I had no doubt about that ! =o)
Do pig farmers have a so bad reputation in USA ?

And yes, that's a great idea.
Yes, they occupy a low niche in socially desirable jobs. However it is a profitable business. I'm pretty sure that it's cheaper to raise pigs than cattle, but I don't know if it translates into a greater profit margin. The downside is the incredible stench associated with a pig farm.
My Dad grew up on a pig farm. 3,000 or so. Then they got Salmonella and died. Now he is a doctor. :) They said they would bit each others tails off when they were really hungry.
fungus amungus (author)  joejoerowley9 years ago
They do. On some farms they will cut the tail almost completely off. They leave a little bit that is very tender so they will fight back if they get bitten.
Yeah. My dad would give us (my twin brother and me) bed time stories about castrating and removing the tails of pigs. It was heart warming.
jtobako9 years ago
Silly question, but why are you assuming that pig farmers aren't smart?
fungus amungus (author)  jtobako9 years ago
Yeah, I was going to put a footnote about that. I know a lot of smart farmers, but farmers also get a bit of a hick reputation as well. Cool to see people standing up for the pig farmer.
I am not sure that the assumption of smartness or lack thereof was made:

You can come up with a brilliant solution to a problem. And it doesn't matter if you went to a school for it.

This reads more like, "you don't have to have a college education in engineering to be an engineer....just observant. "

That is how I took it anyway.
"even a pig farmer" makes it something of a left-handed complement. Would it change the feeling if it had been "even a woman"?
I do suppose it can be viewed that way. I just meant that it doesn't "have" to be viewed that way :-) There are times when such statements are obviously and blatantly aimed in that direction; this one; however, I think has to be seen that way for a reason. Hey, I grew up in farmland, among farmers, so KNOW how inventive some of "us" can be, still I took the statement as a compliment, rather then an insult.
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