Hormel Foods' Farmer John unit will sell about 9,000 sows at its Corcoran, Calif. Operation. The company will transition to a finishing operation by October, according to a company spokesman. "The market has grown increasingly competitive and the rising cost of feed and fuel is making it much more difficult for livestock operations to compete," spokesman Steve Duchesne said in a telephone interview.
He also said an increasingly difficult regulatory environment in California played into the decision. "We could not fool ourselves into thinking the regulatory environment would become any more favorable," he said, citing an upcoming ballot initiative expected in California's November election to ban sow stalls, field crates and battery cages.
The last pigs bred on the farm will be weaned in April and through the system by October. The Farmer John unit will source pigs to finish at its California facility from its existing farms in Wyoming and Arizona, which house 14,000 sows and 13,500 sows respectively.
Duchesne said the California operation would maintain an inventory of about 68,000 pigs from one to six months old and continue annual production of about 125,000 to supply the Los Angeles packing plant owned by Farmer John parent company, Clougherty Packing.