By MATTHEW WEAVER
A new study shows that consumers prefer the term "hog farmer" over "swine producer."
The word "producer" is not well-liked by consumers, said Sarah Smith, Washington State University Extension agent in Grant and Adams counties.
Consumers also prefer "farmer" or "rancher," she said. They also don't like the word "operation," she said, and the word "swine" tested negatively compared to "pig," hog" or "pork."
The National Pork Board and U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance sponsored research by communication strategy company Maslansky Luntz and Partners, monitoring audience response to comments.
John Johnson, the board's vice president for strategic administration, will talk about how a farmer's word choice affects consumers during the Washington Swine Information Day, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 1. The one-day event will be at the Moses Lake Golf and Country Club's Pillar Rock Grill in Moses Lake, Wash.
It's particularly important for youths who show pigs and niche marketers to weigh their words when they interact with the public at fairs or farmers' markets, Smith said.
Board director of science Chris Hostetler, former director of the WSU Swine Center, will also talk about future swine research priorities and housing structures.
Pigs are the most popular youth livestock projects in the state, Smith said. Part of that is the animal's timing works with school schedules for families, she said, and pigs don't require a lot of space.
"As long as you feed and care for them, the pig is a relatively easy animal to handle," she said. "They have quite the personality and are very intelligent animals, so I think people gravitate to them after they've done it one or two times."
Registration is $25 per person. Youth registration at $15 is available to 4-H and FFA members. For more information, contact Smith at 509-7542011, ext. 413.