Open house planned at new pig barns near LaHarpe



When Justin and Whitney McKeown wanted to get into farming, raising pigs provided the best option.

The couple just built two 2,500-head wean-to-finish pig barns near LaHarpe and plan to have pigs in production at Oak Ridge Farm the week of Feb. 20.

“Putting up these buildings was a way for us to have another income,” said Justin McKeown, who recently quit his job to farm with his father-in-law. “We want to build off of them, become bigger farmers, which is growing the farming community.”

Now the McKeowns want to show off the latest farm addition with a Friday open house.

“We just wanted everybody in the community to kind of see what we’re doing out there, the technology that we’re using,” he said. “We really want the neighbors to come so they get an idea of what’s going on out there.”

The Illinois Pork Producers Association and the Illinois Livestock Development Group coordinated the open house for the McKeowns as a way to promote livestock in Illinois, giving people a chance to explore the barn and ask questions before the pigs move in.

Construction on the barns began in October, and the McKeowns work with Professional Swine Management. Weaned pigs will be shipped to the barns and stay there until they reach market weight in five to six months, then the process repeats.

Justin McKeown hopes the open house will ease some concerns of his neighbors.

“I hope they come see things we’re doing to try to eliminate odor, the technology we’ve used to try to make it as pleasant as we can,” he said.

A natural windbreak stands just to the east of the barns, and there are plans to add trees. Some years, the buildings will be surrounded by corn, which will also help with odor, and the buildings have solid siding instead of curtains to improve efficiency.


The open house will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, at two new wean-to-finish pig barns built by Justin and Whitney McKeown. A ribbon cutting will take place at 11:30 a.m. at the McKeown farm at 2935 E. County Road 2150, LaHarpe.


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