Technology Reinvented at Iowa Select's New Hog Farm

The double-barn farm is designed for 4,800 head and features technology that will help decrease odors. ( JoAnn Alumbaugh )

Last week, Iowa Select Farms showcased one of its newest farms with an open house and press conference. Several hundred people came to view the new facility, which highlights technology that will help the farm be a better neighbor by controlling dust and odors. As the fifth largest pork producer in the country, Iowa Select Farms markets more than four million pigs per year. That’s why chief operating officer Noel Williams, the employees, and the contractors for Iowa Select understand the importance of being good neighbors.

“These things aren’t required by state law, they’re not regulated by the federal government,” Williams told WHO-TV. “As much as I would like to, as a production guy, have this help the environment in the barns or help pigs grow better, they don’t but they do help us be good neighbors.”

The new farm, located in Williams, Iowa, is a “Green Farmstead Partner” with the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers. The double-barn farm is designed for 4,800 head and features technology that will help decrease odors.

Electrostatic Fence Design
An informational paper from Iowa Select explains how the electrostatic fence, which lines one end of the building, works: As dust/odor particles leave the barn through exhaust fans, the particles enter an ionization field, which imparts a negative charge on the dust particles. The airstream hits the fence-wall, and that’s when several factors come into play. Some airflow is directed upward, which forces dust to settle out or slow down before impacting the fence.

  • The fence acts as a grounding plate, attracting the charged particles.
  • The fence serves as a mechanical filter, capturing large particles.
  • Reduced airspeed through the fence results in increased settling out of dust particles immediately after going through the fence.

Visitors were told that 10,000 volts of electricity run through the two barbed-wire strands, but if someone were to touch it, the result would be like touching any electric fence.

The farm also installed a series of windbreaks around the farm to reduce odor and provide aesthetics. The Green Farmstead Partnership Program connects farmers with participating nurseries. Brian Waddingham, executive director of the Coalition explained that the organization began 14 years ago, and has served more than 4,300 families. It has planted more than 70,000 trees so far, “and with Iowa Select Farm’s commitment, we’re going to plant even more trees throughout the state of Iowa," Waddingham said.

listen“Technology does change and we continue to adapt, not only for the pigs but also from an odor mitigation standpoint and an environmental standpoint," says Noel Williams, in an interview with Farm Journal’s PORK editor JoAnn Alumbaugh.