Austin Betzold recently built a new 2,450 head pig barn outside of Nokomis. Friends, family, and the local community were invited to the barn for an open house and meal to celebrate the addition to the Betzold farm on May 3rd. Tours were offered and a meal prepared by the Illinois Pork Producers Association was provided.

Betzold is a recent graduate of Iowa State University where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Studies. He previously attended Lake Land College prior to transferring. “This barn is a great opportunity to expand as a young farmer. It’s giving me the freedom to do what I love, which is to raise livestock,” he says. Austin and his father, Bruce, raise Angus cattle and grow corn and soybeans as well.

Construction of the barn included work from many local businesses in Illinois. From the building frame to electric, concrete, and pig equipment, many local jobs were associated with the process. In one year, the pigs in this barn will consume approximately 40,000 bushels of corn and 6,000 bushels of soybeans, grown by local farmers. This pig farm will produce over 320,000 (5-7 oz.) pork chops and over 5 million slices of bacon per year, feeding the local community and beyond.

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 such as automatic fans and ventilation, 24/7 access to feed and water, and a controlled environment make for safe living conditions for pigs.

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: Automated Production (AP), Borgic Pork Partners, Farmweld, First National Bank of Nokomis, Frank & West Environmental Engineers, IL Livestock Development Group, IL Pork Producers Association, Longhorn Cattle & Swine Confinement, Maximum Ag Technologies, & Poggenpohl Redi Mix.

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