“We are thrilled to call you fellow Hoosiers here in Indiana and let us be a part of helping you in the future,” said Indiana Department of Ag director Ted McKinney. “Congratulations for what you already have accomplished and what you’re soon to accomplish,” McKinney added.
He was addressing the principals just before the ceremonial shovels dug into ground where a 7,000 square foot Pork Education Center is to be built west of the birthing barn on the main campus.
The center is an addition to the Pig Adventure which opened less than a year ago.
The pork sectors of Fair Oaks Farms have received strong local and state support in addition to a significant donation by the National Pork Board. That organization’s chief operating officer, John Johnson, explained the investment is to educate the public.
“That public that is both geographically and generationally removed from the farm today, that has little understanding of the value of modern agriculture, modern pork production, and has no understanding about how that production system truly benefits them, the world and the environment. So the board ultimately decided it was a wonderful opportunity to invest in a vehicle to educate that consuming public.”
He told HAT the Education Center and the Pig Adventure are perfect complements to each other.
“Belstra Milling, Malcolm Dekryger and their crew have done a wonderful job with Legacy Farm, the actual sow farm that is tour able by the public. Now we’re coming to the second phase of this effort back here on the main campus of Fair Oaks, the education center, and while the exhibits are not fully designed yet, we anticipate that while there may be some production issues addressed in those exhibits we’re also into the nutritional value of pork, the versatility, the flavorful, tasty eating experience that people can have from all the various cuts from pork. So with the education center together with Legacy Farm we’ll have the complete picture, the total package that the consumer needs to know about modern pork production.”
Fair Oaks opened a decade ago with a primary focus on dairy before partnering with Belstra Milling for the pig production aspect of modern farming. The Pork Education Center is expected to open to the public early next year, hopefully by spring.
The center will contain a sky trail ropes course that will contain pig factoids as you reach the higher levels. The center will be a boarding area for The Pig Adventure bus tours.
The Pork Education Center will also contain a 600-quare-foot distance learning facility for virtual field trips; an interactive area outlining medical uses for pigs; a nutrition and health area discussing pork, recipes and cuts of meat; an area outlining pork use around the world; and an area dedicated to innovations in pig science.