New Hog Farm Holds Open House

On Fri­day, Cooper Farms held an open house at its new Sandy Ridge Gilt Farm in Cecil. The 179-acre farm will house approx­i­mately 1,600 young female pigs begin­ning in Decem­ber, where they will remain for about 16–17 weeks, or until they reach about 200 pounds. They will then be moved again to a new facil­ity near Hicksville, which is expected to be com­pleted in April and will house 5,000 sows. The Sandy Ridge farm has ani­mal care fea­tures includ­ing raised ramps, which allow hogs to walk directly off and on the trucks for move­ment from one farm to another. In order to pre­vent ill­ness, any­one enter­ing or exit­ing the barns must fully shower to wash away any bac­te­ria, and all items com­ing into the facil­ity will go through a UV box to ensure they do not carry any bac­te­ria to the herd. A biocur­tain will be installed at the facil­ity as well to cut down on the dust and smell from the farm. The Cres­cent News also reports that the new facil­ity will use tun­nel ven­ti­la­tion to cool the hogs along with heat lamps to warm them in the win­ter. The inte­rior of the barn will be kept at a con­stant 70 degrees.
Sandy Ridge will employ one full-time worker who will care for the hogs on a daily basis, and the farm will be able to pro­vide nat­ural fer­til­izer for 100 acres per year. Cooper Farms raises and sells more than 148 mil­lion live pounds of hogs a year. It has more than 100 fam­ily con­tract grow­ers as well as 10 company-owned hog breed­ing farms. The com­pany, based in Oak­wood, has a total of 1,943 employ­ees. They also raise turkeys and pro­duce more than 74 mil­lion dozen eggs a year.

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