The National Pork Board has agreed to donate $1 million to the proposed Fair Oaks Pig Adventure Center in Indiana with a second $1 million donation contingent on private fund-raising of $7.6 million.
Estimated total cost of the project is $9.6 million. Belstra Milling, an Indiana pork producer and one of the major supporters of the project, has said it will assume all costs for the working sow barn. Private funds are being sought for the visitor and education features.
Funds for the National Pork Board’s donation will come from the Pork Checkoff. The Checkoff is used for promotion, research and consumer information. Board members stipulated that its donation be used for the education center part of the project, keeping with its mission.
Michael Platt, executive director of the Indiana Pork Producer Association and another major supporter of the project, said future plans call for making the sow barn the focal point of a distance-learning project that would allow students from around the country who have little access to farms to learn about modern food production. Platt said supporters are talking to potential funders of the distance learning effort. The Indiana pork organization has committed $250,000 toward the center.
Platt said construction of the sow barn is scheduled to begin this spring.