Could the family dairy experience at Fair Oaks Farm along I-65 in Jasper County one day expand into a pig experience too? That’s the plan for Indiana Pork, and fundraising to get that plan in motion has already started.
President of the state pork producer organization, Sam Moffitt, says the fundraising is in the beginning stages.
“Indiana Pork has hired a person to fundraise to get the actual pork production site viewable to the public, and that’s quite an undertaking. National Pork Board has been requested to fund part of it since it will be educational to the consumers, and basically just show what it’s like in a modern pork production unit.”
Moffitt stresses fundraising efforts are specifically to make the operation open and viewable for the public. Belstra Milling, already located in the area, will build the hog operation themselves.
“And it will be basically breed to finish,” he said. “So they’ll be able to see all aspects of pork production from breeding gestation, farrowing, being able to see baby pigs born, and nursery and finish also.”
Even in its infancy already a lot of engineering time has gone into the architecture of the facility so it can be viewable but maintain the highest level of biosecurity.
“We get a lot of questions about why the hogs are inside and why people can’t go in to see them, and basically it is biosecurity. So we are designing it so people will look down in but there won’t be any contact with the hogs that would possibly bring in something that might affect the herd health of the pork production unit.”
Pending the fundraising falling into place Indiana Pork would like for construction to begin this summer and see an attraction open to the public by the fall of 2013.
Moffitt isn’t getting specific yet about the amount of fundraising needed, but the number seems to keep growing.
“To make the unit viewable to the public and to meet all the codes and make it where we can handle a large amount of people, and there was a lot we didn’t realize it would take. So we’re looking in the millions to make it viewable and give the public a good experience like Fair Oaks has done.”
And visitors will have access from Fair Oaks to the pig adventure.
Moffitt is swine production manager for Co-Alliance. His term as president ends with the annual meeting of Indiana Pork at the upcoming Indiana Livestock Forage and Grain forum.[audio:http://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/02/moffittFairOakspigs.mp3|titles=Sam Moffitt on pigs at Fair Oaks]