Cargill Pork LLC’s conversion to group sow housing has been completed 11 months ahead of the schedule the company set for itself last June. The company had set a target to have all company-owned farms converted to group sow housing by the last day of 2015.
Mike Luker, president of Cargill Meat Solutions Corp.’s pork business, says the company made the decisions to convert to group sow housing by listening to the marketplace in recent years.
Luker says that in recent years many of Cargill’s customers have made commitments related to their future pork purchases, and that Cargill intends to meet those needs. He went on to say that the company has been a pioneer in the use of group housing for gestating sows dating back more than a decade, and recently there has been growing public interest in the welfare related to animals raised for food.
Group housing and individual housing for gestating sows both have benefits and challenges, and although a large-scale change to group housing takes time and is costly, Luker says Cargill believes it is the right thing to do for the long term future of pork production in the United States.
Cargill maintains the Dec. 31, 2017 target for conversion to group housing at contract farms containing Cargill Pork sows. Hogs produced by Cargill Pork-owned sows represent approximately 30% of the total animals harvested each year at Cargill’s two pork processing facilities.