Time for a ‘Gilt’ Trip

Merck Animal Health: Livestock Internal Resource Network

September 6, 2018

Ask a commercial hog producer if 30,000 visitors and a full scale production facility can exist in harmony, he would say “when pigs fly!” But Dr. Megan Inskeep of the Merck Animal Health Swine Technical Services team and Fair Oaks Farms have done just that.

Situated between Chicago and Indianapolis, the “Pig Adventure” is an interactive agritourism attraction housed on a commercial hog operation. The stars of the show are the sows in the farrowing barn who produce an average of 30 pigs each per year. In a 25,000-square-foot sky-box, visitors clamber at the chance to watch gilts growing, sows gestate, and baby piglets being born. But the birds-eye view performs another vital function by maintaining biosecurity of the herd.

Along the windows, interactive kiosks educate about key swine health topics. One focus of these kiosks is the importance of vaccinations to keep a swine operation ahead of outbreaks. Being “Driven to Prevention” of disease is the key to a successful hog operation and the cornerstone of MAH swine portfolio. Dr. Inskeep explains that, at Fair Oaks Farms, prevention is crucial to the success of the facility’s mission, as the introduction of a disease outbreak would prevent visitors from being able to visit the facility.

Dubbed as the “agricultural Disney,” Fair Oaks Farms is home to more than just pigs. The operation found its agritourism roots in the “Dairy Adventure” attraction, which features a full-scale modern rotary parlor. Since 1999, Merck Animal Health been proud to partner with Fair Oaks Farms, as the facility proves agritourism can exist alongside a true commercial agricultural model.

“This is an amazing venue for anyone to visit and learn more about their food sources and present-day agriculture,” says Dr. Inskeep. The partnership with “Pig Adventure” is part of a three-year contribution of the MAH Veterinary and Consumer Affairs team, Swine Business Unit and Swine Technical Services team.

To plan your next trip to Fair Oaks Farms, check out their website.

Be sure to watch a great feature from Dr. Inskeep about being Driven to Prevention.