This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Groundbreaking for FOFPEC

On Wednesday Fair Oak Farms had a groundbreaking ceremony for a new Pork Education Center. The event began with some socializing, then had a number of speakers, the customary posing with shovels, and finally some more socializing.
 There were some snacks available, including these pigs on a stick, which were tasty cookies.
A speaker from Indiana Pork, the director of Agriculture for the State of Indiana, the CEO of the National Pork Board were among those who addressed the audience. I was intrigued by how this building will have a different ownership from the other buildings on the site. The cooperation of a variety of different groups that makes Fair Oak Farms possible is quite amazing and must require a lot of planning and negotiating.

I wonder if I made television news somewhere.
 The press release for the event includes this information:
The 7,000-square-foot 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 will contain pig factoids as you reach the higher levels. The center will focus on the many uses of pork products and will be a boarding area for The Pig Adventure bus tours.  
The Pork Education Center will also contain a 600-square-foot 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.
 After the speeches were over, it was time for the ceremonial posing with shovels. Because I delayed walking from the tent to the construction site--I was busy talking with someone--by the time I got to the construction site the participants were turning in their shovels.
 But then several other groupings were assembled for more photo opportunities. You can find some of them on the Fair Oaks Farms Facebook page. (You can see the back of my head in this one.) Here is another series of pictures from the event.
 Construction will begin in the next couple of weeks. Expected completion is February or March in 2015. The Pork Education Center will complement and complete the Pig Adventure. Its goal is the same as the goal of the rest of Fair Oaks Farms, to provide edutainment. The people who are in charge of Fair Oaks Farms are concerned that Americans do not understand where their food comes from and that ignorance is not bliss. People who do not understand the production of food will agree to measures that can be harmful to food production, and in the upcoming years both rising incomes around the world and population growth will increase the demand for protein. That demand will not be met unless the techniques of modern agriculture are used.

One of the big supporters of this new center is the National Pork Board. It gets money from mandatory payments from farmers marketing hogs (the checkoff), and this money is used to promote the consumption of pork. The Pork Board thought that the Pork Education Center was worthy of its support and invested a sizable amount of money in it--one of the largest contributions they have made to something promoting pork.
 Above is what the finished building will look like. Below is a blueprint of what will be in the interior.
 This is another architectural rendering of the building.
This event was not as big as the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Pig Adventure almost two years ago. That one had more politicians and more people. There was the hint of perhaps another ceremonial groundbreaking in a few months--perhaps for a poultry exhibit?

If you want even more information, you can find some here.

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