Northeastern N.D. hog farmers have big dreams

NORTH DAKOTA - A group of farmers and businessmen who were denied the opportunity to start a large hog farm in Ramsey County is looking to the north, convinced that North Dakota's prime durum wheat country can also be a hog heaven.

Viking Feeders is considering building its hog farm in Cavalier County, general manager Paul Ivesdal said. The group also is considering switching to a 5,000-sow farrowing operation rather than a 21,000-hog business that would fatten the animals and send them to market.

"The farrowing operation means 17 or 18 jobs, compared to the six jobs with the finishing barns," Ivesdal said.

The Ramsey County Commission last month denied a permit for Viking Feeders, amid worries that manure might contaminate Devils Lake. Viking Feeders has a state permit, but the county's feedlot zoning rules are stricter than the state's.

Ivesdal believes that hog farming can help the economy of northeastern North Dakota, where some hog farms already are in business. In Towner County, a hog farm is operating near Cando and another is under construction. Both are partners with Manitoba-based Elite Swine.

Those two hog operations will provide 25 full-time jobs, some part-time jobs and an expected annual payroll of $800,000.

"We give this rural area a chance to maintain its vitality," said Bruce Gibbens, one of the hog farm owners. "If we don't do things like this, schools will be closing. We need people here."

Source: In-forum
calendar icon 13 February 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
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