Sandy Hausman

WVTF/RADIO IQ Charlottesville Bureau Chief

Sandy Hausman joined our news team in 2008 after honing her radio skills in Chicago.  Since then, she's won several national awards for her reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Radio, Television and Digital News Association and the Public Radio News Directors' Association. 

Sandy has reported extensively on issues of concern to Virginians, traveling as far afield as Panama, Ecuador, Indonesia and Hong Kong for stories on how expansion of  the Panama Canal will effect the Port of Virginia, what Virginians are doing to protect the Galapagos Islands, why a Virginia-based company is destroying the rainforest and how Virginia wines are selling in Asia.

She is a graduate of Cornell University and holds a Masters degree in journalism from the University of Michigan. 

Virginia’s House and Senate have agreed on a budget that increases state dollars for education, but critics say rich schools will do better than poor ones under the current funding formula, and we’ll still be far behind where we were when the recession hit.  

Since 2009, Virginia has cut about $800 million a year in funding for public schools. Now, lawmakers have agreed to restore some of that money - about $856 million over two years.

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Virginia is home to the world’s largest pork producer – a Chinese owned company called Smithfield, and this region produces nearly nine million hogs a year.  It’s also a hotbed of opposition to the factory farms where most of those animals live.  

Sandy Hausman

A World Health Organization report recently warned that eating meat puts people at a greater risk for cancer, but that hasn’t hurt the market for bacon, ham, pork chops and roasts.  Nor are consumers deterred by other deadly health hazards linked to the industry. The world’s largest pork producer – Smithfield Foods -- slaughters 30 million pigs a year.  

CC0 Public Domain

This part of the nation has long been a hub for pork.  The world’s largest producer, Smithfield, is based in the Commonwealth, and there are as many pigs as people in North Carolina.

In fact, you can trace the history of ham and bacon back to the 1600’s, when settlers arrived from England, but raising pigs in the 21st century is a whole new game.

When Americans think about pig farming, they might think fondly of the children’s classic Charlotte’s web - a tale told on film by the beloved animator Hannah Barbera.

Smithfield is the world’s largest producer of pork in the world – a Virginia-based company with farms and packing plants in the U.S., Poland, Romania along with joint ventures in Mexico. Each year the firm raises 16 million animals, and it buys another 14 million from independent farmers to supply the world with bacon, ham and other products made from pigs. 

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