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Looking back on 2019: building the pig farm of the future

At the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center's model pig farm, free-roaming sows are implanted with RFID chips, nourished by organic feed, and powered by solar energy.

26 December 2019, at 9:30am

At Penn Vet’s Swine Unit at New Bolton Center, 500-pound pigs squeal and strut in a sunny outdoor pen. Thomas Parsons, professor of swine production medicine and director of the Swine Teaching and Research Center, leans down to pat them on their sides as they sniff at his denim overalls.

pig stood outside with piglets
Sows at Penn Vet have access to outdoor open space, an amenity that translates to improved welfare for the animals. Penn Vet is helping farmers across the state embrace new practices to help make food products more appealing to today's buyer

© Eric Sucar, the University of Pennsylvania Office of University Communications

Parsons and his colleagues have spent years crafting and refining their swine unit at Penn with the aim of making pig farms more sustainable nationwide. Their “farm of the future,” with humane conditions and efficient use of resources, stands to reshape the environmental and social impacts of raising swine.

In this article, Parsons discusses the development of the farm facilities and we hear directly from happy producers who have benefited from the expertise of the Penn Vet researchers who have built this sustainable, large-scale production system.


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Access the full article, Is this the pig farm of the future?