Food & Drink Process & Packaging Issue 9 2016 - Page 4

Rockwell Automation Rockwell Automation, the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and information, makes its customers more productive and the world more sustainable. Leading U.S. Pork Producer Optimizes Supply Chain Background From the popularity of baby-back ribs to the national obsession with bacon, Americans have an avid appetite for pork. The Maschhoffs -- the largest family-owned pork producer in the United States – helps satisfy that hunger from its headquarters in Carlyle, Illinois. In 2014, the company sold nearly $1 billion in pork -- enough to feed over 16 million average consumers annually. Like many major agricultural operations, The Maschhoffs started with a single family farm. For five generations, The Maschhoffs grew row crops and raised cattle. But brothers Ken and Dave Maschhoff returned to the farm home from college with bigger dreams. 4 FDPP - In 1991 they bought their parents’ share of the business and began expanding the operation. Today, The Maschhoffs’ pig operation employs about 1,500 employees. Contracting with production partners – about 550 family farmers across the Midwest – the company sells about 5 million live hogs annually. The buyers are packing plants and food producers such as Cargill, Hormel Foods and Farmland. The Maschhoffs provide pigs and feed to their production partners, and pay the farmers for the time, labor and space necessary to raise the hogs. Challenge Running any large farming operation is a complex undertaking. That’s particularly true in modern pig raising, which entails a continuous logistics challenge: the need to move pigs to specialized farm sites at different stages of growth. Once small farmers commonly took on the entire farrow-to-finish operation – breeding sows, weaning piglets, growing feeder hogs and preparing them for market or “finishing.” But rising transportation and feed costs – along with the complexities of hog genetics and health risks – have forced many smaller farms to specialize and contract their services to large producers.