Matt says farmers must consider many factors when deciding how to house sows, including climate, cleanliness and temperature control. Indoor housing has its benefits. "There are systems to keep them cool and keep them healthy, and we can control that," he says. "In the past, that wasn't possible, and I feel lucky that we can take care of them the way we can now."
When Jude took over his family farm, he says he dealt with similar considerations. "People said: 'You can't keep these sows outside. It's winter. It's cold. It's rainy. It's muddy,'" he says. "I learned the hard way, and for years and years, I kept believing in this."
Thanks to the research coming out of Europe, Jude says farmers now have large-scale solutions to these problems. "[We know] how to keep sows, let's say, in a hoop barn or in a larger barn that isn't maybe at the far end of the spectrum," Jude says to Matt. "My farm is very, very spectrally opposite of what you do, but I think there's some middle ground."