When Brad Blonde, a farmer in Lichfield, Mich., sold all of his family's hogs in January, he decided to put up three new buildings to lease out to another pork producer. The buildings will house 12,000 pigs and help to supply the new Clemens Food Group processing plant just 15 minutes away.

The plant is scheduled to begin production on Sept. 5 with a goal to eventually process 10,000 head by February. In 3-5 years, they plan to be able to process as many as 22,000 head. AgDay TV took a tour of the new plant as it gears up for production.

Concrete is being poured above at the one of the three new barns at Blonde's operation. He said concrete trucks go by every 12 minutes.

 

Above are two of the four unloading docks at the plant. Truck drivers will be able to remain in their trucks to unload animals, increasing efficiency.

Temple Grandin designed the holding area for pigs. While it can hold 5,000 head, pigs are required to destress for 2 hours in that area once unloaded off the truck. It will take an animal just 2 days to make it from start to finish in the plant.

 

 

Clemens Food Group says the plant will hire around 800 employees, a 300-person reduction from most plants this size, thanks to cutting edge technology within the plant, 80% of which is from Europe. 

 

The cold storage unit shown above is entirely robotic with absolutely no people involved. 

An AgWeb feature will follow with more information.