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Hog Wild Over Broadband

A group of hogs

A group of hogs. Photo courtesy: USDA, Lance Cheung, Photographer

Bringing broadband to rural areas is helping transform business operations, including family-owned hog farms.

Ralls County Electric Cooperative in Missouri received Recovery Act funding to provide fiber-to-the-premises in a very rural area of Missouri. One of the locations in the Ralls County Electric service territory is a local hog farm, Spring Lake Pork, just 20 miles west of the Mississippi River. This family-owned business was well experienced in hog management, but to stay in business, they needed to upgrade to a smarter and much more efficient operation with state-of-the-art equipment. They also needed robust broadband service to manage a wealth of data.

Ralls County Electric installed fiber throughout their service territory. This new broadband service meant that Spring Lake Pork could integrate a state-of-the-art management system into their operations. The system electronically customized each pig’s feeding regimen, individually weighs and sorts the pigs into groups, routes them into the various controlled pens, where they are also monitored and medicated (when necessary), then re-sorts into birthing or farrowing stations as they grow. The pigs are identified by a frequency identified ear tag.

This state-of-the-art hog management system not only improved efficiencies and profits for the company, but it also enforces the humane treatment of the animals. Without broadband, Spring Lake Pork would continue manual operations, and volumes of valuable production information would not be available.

7 Responses to “Hog Wild Over Broadband”

  1. Fred Cavendish says:

    I would like to see broadband in rural Washington County OREGON.

  2. Ben [USDA Moderator] says:

    @Fred Cavendish – thanks for your comment. Please contact our Oregon office:

    They can help you explore options in your area. Good luck.

  3. I buy wifi for my RGargesFarm and it is another large expense. Something less expensive in Cassopolis Michigan would be amazing!!! Thanks!

  4. Ben [USDA Moderator] says:

    @Rebecca Garges – thanks for your comment. Please contact our Michigan office:

    They can help you explore options in your area. Good luck.

  5. Dale Estep says:

    In the last couple of years the Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative of Vinita, OK, thru a subsidiary, Bolt, has been installing fiber optic cable for internet access in the area. We live in a rural area served by REC and instead of providing this new service to us and other rural REC customers they are providing the new cable to more urban areas in Grove, OK and other areas that don’t even get electricity from REC. They are going to more populated areas and not rural areas. We’ve been on REC for decades and this doesn’t seen fair. We want broadband too!

  6. Sheila Allgood says:

    Some areas that have a more dense population such as Grove, OK are considered underserved. Areas where a rural electric coop does not serve can also be considered underserved by broadband.

  7. Dale Estep says:

    We are more underserved, dial up and Hughes is all we have. My point is NEOC is going for higher population areas that already have other internet providers instead of their old rural electric customers. The poles are already here, just run the cables Anthony Due.

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