Nearly 25 percent of young hogs don’t survive to market largely due to poor heating in their pens. Their deaths cost farmers more than five hundred million dollars a year. Iowa-based FarrPro lab found its niche addressing that problem.
The traditional solution is simply 125-watt light bulbs hung over the creep areas, namely where newborn piglets live. Such light-bulbs tend to be a fire hazard, are energy inefficient and give too little heat for around nine to 30 sows or more, depending on the size of these creeps.
Indoor pig farms are the most vulnerable since many of these buildings are panel constructed and use highly combustible material. (Just think of the straw stacks lying around!)
FarrPro founder, Amos Peterson who grew up on a farm in Southeast Iowa, and Chris Hanson, Co-Founder and VP of Business Development, designed the haven in 2017. Their FarrPro HAVEN delivers an even heat for newborn piglets to keep them safe and warm during their first days of life. As a sort of incubator that’s “user friendly, easy to clean, highly durable and portable”, the haven prevents pigs from being crushed and provides a huge improvement over existing products.
FarrPro’s HAVEN uses an infra-red heating element with improved reflector geometry to deliver what its website describes as “heat energy which feels like sunshine, and [that] penetrates into the pigs bodies, warming them thoroughly.” Instead of expensive remodeling, the farmer attaches HAVEN’s heating and control units to the dividers between the crates.
This type of heat transfer is not only energy-efficient but also helps the pigs put on weight. Equally important, it prevents the sows from crushing one another and calms them resulting in healthy milk production and more marketable pigs.
According to a recent study by Iowa State University, FarrPro’s HAVEN reduced pig death by 20% and energy use by 59%.
Award Winning Pig Farming Technology
FarrPro lab was created in 2017, and in July 2019, Haven won the Producer’s Choice Award from the National Hog Farmer. In March, the Iowa Economic Development Authority awarded FarrPro lab a $100,000 demonstration fund loan to hire staff, buy equipment and market its product. This week (January 13, 2020) FarrPro received the Canadian Pork Innovation Award for its Haven product.
“The Aherne Prize recognizes individuals who have developed either original solutions to pork production challenges or creative uses of known technology,” explained Dr. Ben Willing of the University of Alberta and chair of the prize committee in a release, adding the award acknowledges “grassroots inventiveness in the pork industry.”
In preparation for additional sales and wider distribution, FarrPro continues to add to its team by recently hiring veteran Des Moines, Iowa businessman Sheldon Ohringer to serve as President. Ohringer has over 30 years of experience in the areas of sales, acquisitions, mergers, IPO’s and billion-dollar valuations.