Valorie Eversole Daily Union Editor
Shelbyville Daily Union
---- — A cooperative effort by two area farmers has the potential to positively affect the local economy as well as neighboring farms.
R.D. and Jill Waddington introduced their new 2,400 head wean-to-finish hog farm near Assumption in Shelby County to neighbors and local businesses Tuesday evening with a ribbon cutting and open house.
The Waddingtons will be running the facility for the animals brought in by Roger Walk of Neoga.
“They are Roger’s animals. We just take care of them and supply the building,” R.D. Waddington said. “He (Walk) liked our location because it is on the way to the packing plant in Beardstown.”
The barn is 101 feet wide and 193 feet long and is equipped with automatic feeding and watering system, large industrial fans, curtains and misters for the welfare of the animals.
Pigs will enter the building weighing 12-14 pounds and will be cared for approximately five to six months until they reach market weight of 260-270 pounds. The first animals will be brought to the facility at the end of the month.
“The new hog barn has many technologically advanced features that increase the efficiencies of raising the pigs, but will also improve the welfare of the pigs,” said Waddington. “The building is tunnel ventilated, which improves air flow inside the building and thus improves the pigs’ health.”
Because pork producers are held to a zero discharge standard in the management of manure, the manure will be contained in deep pits under the barns. It will later be injected to surrounding corn and soybean fields according to the crops needs as part of the nutrient management plan.
“Getting the manure to use as a fertilizer for our crops will be a great benefit of this new barn,” Waddington said.
“The new hog farm will bring additional economic activity to our local economy,” said Waddington.”We will also be adding additional tax revenue to the county, of which a large portion will go to the Central A&M School district.”
The Waddington family currently farms approximately 1,900 acres of corn soybeans and wheat. The farm has been in the family since the early 1960s. R.D. is the second generation in his family to farm. His farther previously raised pigs in a farrow to finish operations.
“It has been about 15 years since we have had pigs on our farm,” Waddington said. “It’s amazing how much more technology there is now compared to 15 years ago.”
“We decided to build the new hog barn to expand our family farm and create an opportunity for our children, if they choose, to come back to the farm as the next generation,” he said. “Pork production has allowed my family to continue to remain viable in agriculture and remain an active member of this community.”
The open house and ribbon cutting was sponsored by Shelby County Farm Bureau, COUNTRY Financial, Farmweld, LG Seeds, Niebrugge Ag Services, Shelby County State Bank, Illinois Pork Producers Association and the Pork Checkoff.
“This farm adds to the economic well-being of the area,” said Nick Anderson of the Illinois Livestock Development Group. “This is one of 90 to be built in Illinois this year that will bring over $50 million in the hog industry. This building will produce fertilizer for 200-250 acres of corn and produce more than 1 million pounds of pork.”
The farm is located in Rural Township.