The UF/IFAS Swine Unit is located 2 miles SW of the main campus and is one of just a handful of pork producers in the state of Florida. The unit has a housing capacity of approximately 350-head at a given time, all various breeds, sizes, and levels of production. This unit is overseen by the manager and four part-time student employees who provide care for the animals on the property. The primary purpose of this unit is to provide swine for undergraduate teaching, extension programs, and research in the areas of nutrition, physiology, genetics, management, behavior, and welfare by providing hands-on training to students enrolled in the Animal Sciences department at UF, as well as to the veterinarian students at UF’s Vet School. ANS 4623C-Pork Production, ANS 3319C-Reproductive Physiology and Endocrinology in Domestic Animals, and ANS 3006L-Intro to Animal Science are just a few of the classes and labs that visit the unit every semester to learn about the swine industry.
This unit undergoes weekly herd health checks by the UF Large Animal Hospital, and they provide any medical treatment if required. During these visits, student employees have the opportunity to work alongside veterinarians and receive hands-on experience ultra-sounding sows, reading ultrasound images, drawing blood from the jugular vein, and administering treatment to ill livestock under veterinarian supervision. Our student employees take full advantage of being able to learn these skills and add the experiences to their resumes.
All breeding at the Swine Unit is utilized by artificial insemination (AI), which comes from our very own boars, Canyon (Yorkshire) and Smokin’ Maple (Duroc). Pigs raised at the unit are used for several purposes. Many of the feeder pigs are sold at the Livestock market or to the UF Meat’s Lab, while others are sold and raised as 4-H and FFA market projects, and few are kept for breeding purposes.
Students are welcome to contact the Unit manager, Clay Whitehead via email (email@example.com) for more information about volunteering at the unit. Housing is also available on site for motivated students who are interested in gaining more experience with pork production.