An enthusiastic group of hog producers were proud to show off their work yesterday at a rededication of the Vista Pork facility in Newell.
This summer an extensive remodeling project was done on Vista Pork, which handles market hogs raised in Buena Vista, Sac and Pocahontas counties.
Farm Bureau took over ownership of the building in 1994, said Marty Broich of Vista Pork. Volunteers have done minor repairs over the years, but never a project this large.
"Now it's a night and day difference between the new facility and the old one - really there's no comparison," he said.
Last winter, snow collapsed part of a roof over one of the pens, and the old tin roof "leaked like a sieve," Broich said.
Farm Bureau helped purchase materials for the project, and volunteers did all of the work during the summer.
About three-fourths of the holding pens were redone, and a new steel roof was installed. Landscaping was done around the facility.
"This effort is culmination of two years of work," said hog producer Terry Murray.
"Hogs that come here have a good facility," he added, saying the newly done Vista Pork compares to brand new facilities.
Along with Newell, there is another Vista Pork facility in Sioux Rapids. Larry Sills coordinates deliveries out of Vista Pork. He is the senior marketing agent for Production Livestock Marketing out of Sioux City.
Sills started with Vista Pork in 1997, and has 17 1/2 years of experience in hog marketing.
Production Livestock Marketing will market approximately 500,000 hogs this year, he said, up from the 98,000 his first year in Sioux City.
The purchase of Iowa Premium Pork has doubled the volume this year. "We started with not a whole lot, and we have a whole lot now," Sills said.
But Sills said the smaller collection facilities help make his company and the producers who use them successful. Approximately 45,000 hogs are marketed through Vista Pork, he said.
Producers in Buena Vista, Sac and Pocahontas market through Vista Pork. "These guys do a lot of work," Sills said.
Larger operations generally load on-farm, and smaller groups of hogs are picked up at Vista Pork. "We cannot survive without small groups coming into stations like this," Sills said.
Vista Pork allows producers to bring in small groups running between 20 and 40 head into the facility. Sills said often they'll start a truck at a farm, and then bring it to Vista Pork to fill it.
Murray said that is good for the farmers, which reduces shipping costs and helps bring more money for their hogs.
"People make up the whole system," Sills said. "We could load anywhere, but it's people wanting to do something different here and make it better that make it a success."
"It's great that local producers care enough about this community and this area that they want to fix up Vista Pork," said Newell Mayor Rod Johnson.