Local student speaks up for hog farmers

Sask Pork Photo Marcelin area Grade 5 student Reise Podhordeski has been named the inaugural Whole Hog Youth

Marcelin Grade 5 student named Sask Pork youth ambassador

Reise Podhordeski is like any 10-year-old, with one exception—he’s now the youth ambassador for one of Saskatchewan’s biggest agricultural sectors.

Sask. Pork named Podhordeski their inaugural Whole Hog Youth Ambassador for 2023 after launching the youth program in January. Podhordeski lives on his family’s commercial hay farm near Marcelin, roughly 47 km southwest of Shellbrook.

Podhordeski will create a series of videos and will attend various events across the province on behalf of Sask Pork. The Whole Hog videos will be released on the Sask Pork and Pick Pork social media channels and featured on the Sask Pork website.

Podhordeski was approached to be the first representative and thought the idea sounded neat.

He is the first one and they hope to possibly create a contest concept later.

“To me it means that I can teach people about pigs and that it is fun,” Reise said.

“I can’t wait to show everyone what I’ve seen and experienced so far. It’s a great way to show other kids and everyone across Saskatchewan what it’s really like to be a pig farmer.”

The videos will focus on basic consumer questions like “why do pigs usually live in barns” and more behind-the scenes content such as “what do pigs do for fun” and “why is the hog industry in Saskatchewan a big deal”.

“It’s important for people to know where their food comes from and how pigs are raised,” he said.

Podhordeski first learned about the pork industry through his parents and grandparents. His mother, Jessica Podhordeski, was happy her son could represent the industry in this way.

“It’s pretty exciting for us,” she said. “We feel that agriculture is an important part of the province, (and) our economy as a whole overall…. We are involved in agriculture ourselves. My husband’s family ran a hog operation and now we currently have a hay farm, so just to have Reise involved in agriculture as well as growing his skills is pretty exciting.”

The Podhordeski family lives outside of Marcelin and Reise is in Grade 5 and is currently being homeschooled.

He is also a horse lover and has also been actively involved with the local 4-H Light Horse Club.

Sask. Pork GM Mark Ferguson said they were happy to have Reise as a youth ambassador, and hopefuly the program will help educate the public about the industry.

“Reise brings a natural curiosity and a keen interest in the hog industry to the role,” Ferguson said in a press release.

“The Whole Hog youth ambassador program is a great opportunity to bring a youthful energy to the industry and create engaging and education material. This young influencer program will bring increased transparency to hog production, and remove the barriers to the public to better understand the industry.”

Funding for The Whole Hog youth ambassador program was made possible through the Agriculture Awareness Initiative Program under the Canadian Agriculture Partnership. Visit saskpork.com and follow @SaskPork and @PickPorkSK for updates of The Whole Hog youth ambassador program.

Hog farming is Saskatchewan’s third largest agricultural sector, behind grains/oilseeds, and beef production. The industry accounts for more than 1,000 jobs.

Sask Pork members market more than 2-million hogs ever year. The organization advocates on a number of issues, including on-farm food safety, animal care, research, environmental concerns, consumer promotion, and education.