First Hog Farm Piglets Could Arrive By June

ARIZONA - Construction has begun on the hog farm being developed in eastern Yuma County, and the first piglets could arrive by June, company officials said while in Yuma recently.
calendar icon 30 March 2007
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The piglets will be trucked from a breeding farm in Wyoming, fed to market weight here, then sent to Los Angeles for slaughter and processing into Farmer John pork products.

When built out, the hog farm off Spot Road about eight miles east of Dateland will house 52,800 pigs at a time. It will be operated by Clougherty Packing, a subsidiary of Hormel Farms, which also operates the Los Angeles processing plant.

The hog farm has met with opposition from some Dateland-area residents concerned about its impact on the environment, lifestyle and potential for future development, as well as the treatment of the pigs in the industrial hog farm setting.

Dr. Michael Terrill, a veterinarian who will oversee the farm, defended the company's environmental record and pledged that the pigs will be treated according to established guidelines.

"We're committed to the animals and we're committed to the environment," Terrill said.

Care of the pigs will follow the National Pork Producers Council Code of management and they will be held in group pens with "ample room for them to move around, play, lie down," Terrill said. "They're not crammed in."

The barns will have curtains that can be raised during good weather. The temperature will be computer-controlled for the comfort of the growing pigs, and the animals will have free access to fresh water and a carefully planned diet, he said.

Employees will be trained in the proper care of the animals. Antibiotics will be used only to control disease and not to promote growth, he said.

Terrill joined Clougherty in 1992 as the general manager for the company's pig farm operation in Snowflake, Ariz., and today oversees management of the company's pig farms in Arizona, Wyoming and Colorado. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Swine Veterinarians and NPPC and is president of the Arizona Pork Council.

Care of the environment is important to Clougherty, Terrill said. "We live around these farms, we drink the same water as the neighbors and breathe the same air."


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