The official ground breaking at Legacy Farms near Rensselaer Tuesday afternoon drew hundreds from agriculture and the local community. Construction is well underway for the working pig farm that will allow visitors a direct look down into the operation when it opens roughly a year from now.
Indiana Lt. Governor Becky Skillman told HAT the ceremony marks a win in many ways.
“Every sector within agriculture supports one another and that was very obvious by this attendance. I think public celebrations are important for a number of reasons. This is a visible sign of confidence in the local economy, confidence in the state economy, confidence in the future of agriculture and pork production.”
Belstra Milling is building and will operate Legacy Farms. Vice President Malcolm DeKryger explains it is the very first pig farm designed from scratch to show people pig production without getting in the way of the process.
“All production happens on the lower level. Ten feet up above we will have a mezzanine that will reach out into the production building completely surrounded by glass. And from that skybox if you will, people can spend all the time that they want watching our employees breed animals, move sows around, help the farrowing or the birthing process occur, as well as day one care of baby pigs.”
Mike Platt is the executive director of Indiana Pork and he also serves as the president of the Fair Oaks Pig Adventure board of directors, the company educating visitors and conducting tours. Platt says they intend to make this northwest Indiana stop a national destination.
“We’re really looking at this as the location in the United States for people to learn about pig production and to come see firsthand what pig production is all about. So we really have focused this as a national destination which has really caught the attention and the interest of the National Pork Board who are a major funder of the educational piece of this.”
Fair Oaks Dairy has been open since 2004 and draws in a half million annually. CEO Gary Corbett says with hopes for beef, poultry, fish and even crops joining the Fair Oaks experience one day, attendance should jump significantly.
“We hope to have all of the animal groups here by the end of the summer of 2014, then we’re hoping in that next five year period we’ll be up to 2 million visitors. We don’t think that’s a stretch at all,” he told HAT.[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/08/Pig-Adventure-coming-to-Fair-Oaks.mp3|titles=Pig Adventure coming to Fair Oaks]
Click here for a Legacy Farms fact sheet.
In the HAT interview DeKryger looks back on how the idea for a pig operation at Fair Oaks started and the new technology that will be employed:[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/08/Malcolm-DeKryger-at-Legacy-groundbreaking.mp3|titles=Malcolm DeKryger at Legacy groundbreaking]Mike Platt describes the pork industry support the pig adventure is receiving:[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/08/Mike-Platt-at-FOPA-groundbreaking.mp3|titles=Mike Platt at FOPA groundbreaking]