I went to Cowser’s Sow Farm in Bureau County to learn more about their bio -security procedures and see just how thorough their truck wash really is.
Cheryl Walsh runs a sow farm where the piglets she raises are weened and sold once they’re old enough.
She now has about 2250 sows.
We were not allowed to enter the sow barn due to bio-security rules which livestock farmers like Walsh have to follow. It’s a list of rules and regulations to ensure their animals do not get exposed to any disease.
“Pigs are probably one of the highest ones at risk, they can get sick from outside sources very easily,” said Walsh.
Those sources include everyday occurrences such as bird droppings on the trailer hauling them.
The family established their truck wash a few years ago to help with bio-security and contamination.
“A trailer is a good way to get contamination, just by where you have been and where you are going.We felt by building the truck wash we could help maintain the bio-security,” said Walsh.
It’s not your regular truck wash…
Special boots are worn inside the facility to ensure disease doesn’t get on the trailer which can spread to the pigs. The whole process takes her about three hours to complete.
First, she cleans out the wood shavings from the trailer and uses it for manure and compost.
“Then I come in with a high power pressure washer. It uses less volume but more power. You have to have all the manure off the trailer and make sure it’s clean enough you would eat off of it,”said Walsh.
There are misconceptions that pigs are filthy animals but Walsh disagrees.
“Pigs are actually one of the cleanest animals there are. The only reason that a pig might get dirty is because they don’t sweat so they roll around in the mud to cool themselves off. Producers like to keep their pen clean too in order to help with our bio-security. Everything we do is to help with the health of our animals. We don’t want our pigs sick,” said Walsh.