Squeals of delight, UWP plans new swine center for the Pioneer Farm

October 14, 2002

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PLATTEVILLE-The University of Wisconsin-Platteville is currently reviewing architectural plans to build a new swine center at the Pioneer Farm, located a few miles outside of Platteville off of Highway 80/81.

The new center will be built on the south side of College Farm Road, on the 30 acres of land donated by Bob Clare, directly across from the machine shed and current dairy center. The facility will house swine to support the UWP School of Agriculture's animal science program. A number of classes, including farm animal reproduction, monogastric nutrition, meat animal evaluation and animal science management, will utilize the swine center.

"The new center will provide opportunities for student learning and research projects for the faculty and both graduate and undergraduate students," said Duane Ford, dean of the College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture. "We're also hoping to offer a number of outreach activities, such as workshops and seminars for swine producers and people in agribusiness and activities for youth groups and the interested public."

The current swine center at the Pioneer Farm was built in 1960 and is the oldest building on the farm still being used for its original purpose.

"A livestock building of this type might have 15 to 20 years on a typical farm, and we've been using ours for more than 40 years," Ford said. "It's certainly served its lifespan, but is no longer adequate for what we want to do at the Pioneer Farm."

Although plans have not been finalized for the new facility, the University is considering the construction of a U-shaped swine center that would include areas for feed storage, holding, sterilizing, farrowing, breeding and gestation. There would also be an office area in the swine center. While these areas are fairly common for a swine center, there is a unique composting system planned for the building.

"One of the unique designs of this facility will be its slated floors," Ford said. "Manure will fall through the floor into a compost area below. Sawdust or a like substance will be added to the area to aid in composting and eventually the manure will be sent out to another compost area. The composting system will be another opportunity for unique demonstrations at the farm."

The UW-Platteville Foundation is actively seeking private contributions from donors to fund the projected $1.4 million project. Until funds are raised, all four Platteville banks (Anchor Bank, Clare Bank, First National Bank of Platteville and Mound City Bank) are underwriting a loan to the Foundation for the project. The Wisconsin Pork Producers Association is also supporting the swine center project through input and a $30,000 pledge. Construction of the new facility is expected to begin late this year or early spring 2003, with an anticipated completion date of fall 2003.

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