FAIR Oaks Farms broke ground May 21 on a new Pork Education Center located on the main campus in Fair Oaks, Ind.
The center will extend the reach of The Pig Adventure at Fair Oaks Farms and aims to further tell the story of modern pork production.
The 7,000 sq. ft. Pork Education Center will be built directly to the west of the Fair Oaks Farms Birthing Barn. The center will contain a sky trail ropes course that includes pig factoids as visitors reach higher levels. It also will focus on the many uses of pork products and will serve as a boarding area for The Pig Adventure bus tours.
The Pork Education Center will contain a 600 sq. ft. distance learning facility for virtual field trips; an interactive area outlining medical uses for pigs; a nutrition and health area discussing pork, recipes and cuts of meat; an area outlining pork use around the world, and an area dedicated to innovations in pig science.
Only 1% of people directly make their living from production agriculture. At the same time, consumers are more informed about food production and care about where their food comes from. "We want to educate and provide a venue for that dialogue," Mike McCloskey, chairman of Fair Oaks Farms, said during the groundbreaking festivities.
Ted McKinney, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, called Fair Oaks Farms "a shining star" and said it is one of Indiana's greatest attributes in the area of agriculture. "These are high-intensity farms that produce lots of milk and meat," he noted.
John Johnson, National Pork Board chief operating officer, said the Pork Education Center is about giving consumers confidence in their food. The Pork Board is a major donor to the new center, which is on track to open in the spring of 2015.