Smithfield Foods reported that 87 percent of pregnant sows on company-owned farms have been transitioned to group housing systems, a 6 percent increase over 2015.
As planned when Smithfield first announced its commitment in 2007, all company-owned farms in the U.S. are expected to be fully converted by 2017.
Today nearly nine out of every ten of Smithfield’s pregnant sows are living in group housing. The change has cost several hundred million dollars, and on many of the farms, the transition process led to additional construction work, equipment and system upgrades and the development of new feeding and watering systems.
"We are proud to have nearly completed our group housing transition — a process that we've remained dedicated to for nearly a decade," said Stewart Leeth, vice president of regulatory affairs and chief sustainability officer for Smithfield Foods, in a press release. "At each farm along the way, we've made changes that have benefited both our animals while positively impacting the efficiency and environmental sustainability of our farms."
Smithfield’s contract growers moving to group sow housing
Beyond efforts at company-owned farms, Smithfield previously announced it expects all US contract growers to transition to group housing by 2022. Smithfield has committed to providing guidance and expertise to its contract growers to support their conversion process.
Smithfield's hog production operations in Poland (AgriPlus) and Romania (Smithfield Ferme) fully converted to group housing facilities on company-owned farms several years ago. Smithfield's other international hog operations, including company-owned farms in Mexico, are expected to convert to group housing by 2022.