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Hog Wild Over Broadband

Posted by Brandon McBride, Administrator, Rural Utilities Service in Initiatives Rural
Feb 25, 2016
A group of hogs
A group of hogs. Photo courtesy: USDA, Lance Cheung, Photographer

Bringing broadband to rural areas is helping transform business operations, including family-owned hog farms.

Ralls County Electric Cooperative in Missouri received Recovery Act funding to provide fiber-to-the-premises in a very rural area of Missouri. One of the locations in the Ralls County Electric service territory is a local hog farm, Spring Lake Pork, just 20 miles west of the Mississippi River. This family-owned business was well experienced in hog management, but to stay in business, they needed to upgrade to a smarter and much more efficient operation with state-of-the-art equipment. They also needed robust broadband service to manage a wealth of data.

Ralls County Electric installed fiber throughout their service territory. This new broadband service meant that Spring Lake Pork could integrate a state-of-the-art management system into their operations. The system electronically customized each pig’s feeding regimen, individually weighs and sorts the pigs into groups, routes them into the various controlled pens, where they are also monitored and medicated (when necessary), then re-sorts into birthing or farrowing stations as they grow. The pigs are identified by a frequency identified ear tag.

This state-of-the-art hog management system not only improved efficiencies and profits for the company, but it also enforces the humane treatment of the animals. Without broadband, Spring Lake Pork would continue manual operations, and volumes of valuable production information would not be available.

Category/Topic: Initiatives Rural