The University of Guelph’s Ridgetown Campus will soon be home to one of the most advanced swine learning facilities in Canada.

The 6,600-square-foot Swine Education Centre will open this fall at Ridgetown, offering training and education for agriculture and veterinary technology students and industry producers.

At the centre’s launch were (left to right): Stewart Cressman, chair, Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario; Malcolm Campbell, U of G vice-president (research); Guelph MPP Liz Sandals; John de Bruyn, vice-chair, Ontario Pork; Ken McEwan, Ridgetown Campus director; and Rene Van Acker, dean, Ontario Agricultural College.

The $500,000 project is funded mostly by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs through the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario, with Ontario Pork contributing 20 per cent of the budget.

“It will feature state-of-the-art technology with a precision sow feeding system and a high-tech data recording system,” said Ridgetown Campus director Ken McEwan.

“Each semester, agriculture diploma students will have a significant number of experiential learning opportunities in the new facility, learning about the day-to-day operations and most recent production practices.”

The facility will house up to 150 animals. It will be used by about 300 students each year for studying courses such as livestock systems, animal science, pork production and animal health.

The centre will accommodate up to 30 learners at a time in a bio-secure viewing area.

“We are grateful to our partners in government and at Ontario Pork for their exceptional contributions to this important project,” said Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research), at the launch event.

“This centre will help students learn the most recent innovations in pork production and animal welfare while providing insights and expertise to innovative and hard-working farmers and pork producers.”

The facility will also offer education on leading swine production practices for the general public.

The new facility has been constructed to meet codes set by the National Farm Animal Care Council and standards of the U of G Animal Care Committee.

“The Ontario government is proud to have funded the new Ridgetown Swine Education Centre as part of our commitment to increase jobs and exports with Ontario’s agriculture sector,” said Guelph MPP Liz Sandals, who attended the launch.

“The centre will provide agriculture and veterinary technician students and pork producers with the most current training on efficient swine production techniques and state-of-the-art animal welfare practices.”