The New Standard team is all about the advancement of taking care of our animals in this industry. So are quite a few of our producers we come across in this field. Over the course of our time as a company, we were always curious what the future of farming could be. We sat down with a handful of producers to ask just that. What they enjoy currently, and what, realistically or not, would they like to see in the next 10 years for the advancement of farming.
You have read all about Hunter Thomas, Chet Mogler, and Tim Friedel viewpoints. Today we have Darren Sloan.
Barn Manager in Ontario
Q: How long have you been in the industry?
A: 10 years back working on the farm. I didn’t have intentions to be farming again. Our parents encouraged us to explore different kinds of employment while I was growing up. I worked with a Roof Press company. I learned to estimate for concrete, disaster restoration recovery. Eventually, after getting a degree in Construction Management, I came back to work on the pig farm. Now I am using my previous knowledge of construction to help with our expansion project.
Q: How has technology changed the way barns operate today?
A: I’ve noticed the quality of automation, finally catching up to the environment. When the barn was first updated in 1994. It had a high-efficiency furnace, but the other items didn’t stand up in terms of function. My dad ended up taking it out and replaced it with a manual. Eventually, we got a new controller system from New Standard. It is great and versatile. It’s nice to see computerization and automation working well.
Q: Where do you see things in the next 10 years?
A: I feel that computerization and monitoring of a lot of mechanical things are going to increase. There can be an increase in little adjustments that could be automated. One example is knowing the temperature in a barn and automatically adjusting. Farmers can spend more time with the volume of animals instead of making adjustments.
There is so much more that we can ask from our controller system. Having a system can take the guesswork out of it all. Especially being able to be more maintenance-free, as that allows workers to spend time with animals. This can allow future producers to get something done that needs to be completed or reduce the time spent away from projects.
Q: What thing would you want, realistically or not, in the future for producers?
A: Animal wise it would be great to not have to manually castrate male pigs! (Darren chuckles) Everything we wanted to do and change in the barn that was financially feasible, we have done. We have done a treatment of water, where it reduces the build up of iron in the water lines. Lights will mimic the outdoor lightning, making it as authentic as possible. Ventilation systems open and close as the temperatures adjust. We installed a great power washer.
We spent three years in the planning phase of the new build. We hope this financial expense will pay off with the pigs we have.
If anything, we would love to see more transparency between producer and consumer. For those outside the industry being able to understand how we take care of the animals and break the preconceived ideas.