Smithfield Foods nears goal for sow group housing conversion

Sticking to its goal to be fully converted to group sow housing this year, Smithfield Foods Inc. reports that 87% of pregnant sows on company-owned farms have been transitioned to group housing systems. That is up 6% from 2015.

Smithfield first announced its commitment in 2007.

Today nearly nine out of every 10 of Smithfield pregnant sows are living in group housing. The change has cost several hundred million dollars, and on many of the farms, the transition process led to additional construction work, equipment and system upgrades and the development of new feeding and watering systems.

“We are proud to have nearly completed our group housing transition — a process that we’ve remained dedicated to for nearly a decade,” says Stewart Leeth, vice president of regulatory affairs and chief sustainability officer for Smithfield Foods. “At each farm along the way, we’ve made changes that have benefited our animals while positively impacting the efficiency and environmental sustainability of our farms.”

Beyond efforts at company-owned farms, Smithfield previously announced it expects all U.S. contract growers to transition to group housing by 2022. Smithfield has committed to providing guidance and expertise to its contract growers to support their conversion process.

Smithfield’s hog production operations in Poland (AgriPlus) and Romania (Smithfield Ferme) fully converted to group housing facilities on company-owned farms several years ago. Smithfield’s other international hog operations, including company-owned farms in Mexico, are expected to convert to group housing by 2022.

“I am proud of the progress we have made toward this bold goal,” says Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and CEO of Smithfield Foods. “It demonstrates our continued commitment to the care and well-being of our animals, our willingness and ability to lead the industry in this arena, and the far-reaching impact these pledges have on creating value for our business, particularly our hog production operations.”

Click here for more information on sow housing at Smithfield. 

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