MOUNT VERNON, S.D. (AP) — A 5,000-sow swine operation that will produce about 125,000 pigs a year is set to open in southeastern South Dakota just south of Mount Vernon.
Hundreds on Friday toured the Jackrabbit Family Farm facility, which will be populated with animals in about two weeks, the Mitchell Daily Republic reported.
Republican U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem said such production facilities will keep families on the state's farms and will continue providing for the nation's food supply.
"For me food has always been a national security issue," Noem said. "There is a reason we have a farm bill and a reason we have farm policy, and that's because we decide that it's important in America that we grow our own food.
"The instant that another country supplies us with our food is the day that they control us."
The swine operation is owned by farmer investors and will be managed by the Pipestone System of Pipestone, Minn.
Gordon Spronk, Pipestone's chairman of the board, said the Jackrabbit operation is the latest and most technically advanced production facility his company has produced over a 25-year period.
The pigs will be sold to and raised by area farmers.
"Everybody is hungry and they like pork," Spronk said. "It's a global marketplace and the demand for pork continues to go up, and operations like this are meeting that demand."
Pipestone estimates that the operation, which will have an annual operating budget of $4.6 million, will pay $250,000 in excise taxes and $44,965 in real estate taxes. It will have a $700,000 annual payroll, pay about $1.7 million a year for feed and produce $200,000 worth of manure.
Noem, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, lamented that the chamber has been unable to pass an updated farm bill, but she said she and others will be headed back to Washington soon to try again.
She said very few in there understand agriculture or its importance, but they understand high prices and food shortages.
"That's when they sit up and take notice," Noem said.