Kevin and Tabitha Defenbaugh recently built a new 2,496 head pig barn outside of Blackstone. Friends, family, and the local community were invited to the barn for an open house and meal to celebrate the addition to their farm. Tours were offered, and a delicious pork burger meal was provided by the Illinois Pork Producers Association.
The Defenbaughs have two young children and built this barn to better prepare their farm for the future. Adding pigs to their farm will bring diversity and farm experience. The kids will also get a chance to grow up around livestock.
The open house allowed visitors to get a look inside a modern pig barn before the pigs move in. This allows time for the barn to be washed and sanitized before the pigs arrive in the following weeks. New technology is implemented, such as: automatic fans and ventilation, 24/7 access to feed and water, and a controlled environment make for safe living conditions for pigs.
Agriculture plays a vital role in Livingston County. Particularly, the livestock sector provides $144.7 million to the economy and over 515 jobs, in the county alone. The pork industry contributes $1.8 billion to the state’s economy, generates more than $170 million in taxes and provides more than 10,500 jobs. At a time when our state and many of our local economies are struggling, we need to support farm families who are willing to invest in our rural communities.
The Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) and the Illinois Livestock Development Group (ILDG) hosted the event. ILDG is a coalition of Illinois ag groups committed to expanding and growing the livestock industry. Members include: IL Beef Association, IL Corn Marketing Board, IL Farm Bureau, IL Milk Producers’ Association, IL Pork Producers Association, and IL Soybean Association checkoff program.
Other sponsors of the event were: Frank & West Environmental Engineers, Inc., Hog Slat Inc., JR Electric, Inc., Illinois Livestock Development Group, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Livingston County Farm Bureau, Maximum Ag Technologies, and Midwest Bank.