Swine Research Unit

The swine industry is North Carolina’s second most important agricultural industry, worth close to $2 billion annually. The Swine Research Unit includes a 250-sow indoor commercial hog-rearing environment, as well as a hoop barn, and a pastured hog operation for small-scale or limited-resource farmers making the transition to hog farming from tobacco or other crops.

Learning

The Swine Research Unit serves to educate tomorrow’s agricultural professionals who will work for institutions or companies supporting the hog industry. For more about education in swine science, check the curriculums in the Department of Animal Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at http://www.ag.ncat.edu/.

Research and engagement

The swine unit offers the only demonstration site in the state to research pasture-raised hogs for the limited-resource farmer. In response to a growing niche market for “upscale” pork, North Carolina A&T has introduced farmers to outdoor production. Special care must be taken to ensure the maintenance of pasture in order to prevent degradation of soil and water quality. Research is looking at:

  • How stocking rates affect vegetation survival
  • Effect of grazing on nutrient loading in soils
  • Determining the best vegetation types for soil protection
  • Analyzing heritage cross breeds
  • Meat quality

Contacts

Coordinator: Teodoro Barrios tbarrios@ncat.edu (336) 334-7643
Small farmers seeking information about commercial or pasture-based hog rearing may contact Dr. Ralph Noble, rcnoble@ncat.edu.