Cooper Farms recently announced the completion of their Fox Tail Sow Farm. The new farm will be home to just under 2,500 mother pigs, which will give birth to approximately 1,300 baby pigs each week.
Fox Tail is Cooper Farms' first venture into Defiance County, one which will provide at least 11 new full-time jobs and use approximately 90,000 bushels of corn purchased from local farmers each year.
"We are pleased to be entering into Defiance County," says Eric Ludwig, director of corporate development. "This is a great area, with wonderful neighbors and a strong sense of community. Building a farm in this area is something we have wanted for many years, so we are excited to finally become a part of it and gain team members from this area."
Ludwig says Fox Tail is among the first of its kind in the area, utilizing group pen gestation for sow housing and an innovative electronic feeding system. This system allows the sows to have free movement in a group setting, while providing individualized feeding information about each sow. The electronic tags will provide information about how much each sow is eating and drinking, allowing the farm team to still tend to sows' individual needs.
"This new housing and feeding system is an innovative step forward," says Terry Wehrkamp, director of live production for the company. "It provides a spacious environment for the sows, but still allows us to have the individualized information we need to ensure that each sow is healthy and getting the proper nutrition. We have spent several years trying different group housing and feeding methods at our farms, so we know this is the best-fitting system all around."
Cooper Farms worked mainly with local businesses and contractors for the construction of the farm. Over 40 contractors took part in the construction, doing anything from pouring concrete to electrical work.
"The Cooper family has always tried to do things local and give back to the area any way they can," says Bud Koenig, director of facilities and maintenance. "We work a lot with local contractors and business to maintain our current properties, so it is only natural to work with local individuals when building a new farm."
To protect the health of the animals and the team members, Fox Tail is a shower in/out farm, meaning that anyone entering the barns must fully shower to enter or exit, washing away any bacteria or viruses that may have been carried on their clothing or body. The farm sits on approximately 25 acres and will be able to provide natural fertilizer for 165 acres of cropland.
Source: Cooper Farms