Piggeries in Puna

A new deep-litter design may help jump-start family farms

  • 29 September 2020
  • Author: Mark Berthold
  • Number of views: 2778
Piggeries in Puna

Lower Puna has felt the stinging triple punch of hurricane, lava, and now, pandemic. Its livestock producers have sought a best-management practice that is effective, practical, in compliance with new EPA laws – and provides cost-effective pollution prevention.

Enter Mike DuPonte and a deep-litter piggery.

The newly designed structure measures about 16’ x 48’, which fits within the County of Hawaii Agricultural Building Exemption (HRS §46-88), explains Mike, an Extension Agent in Natural Farming and Livestock at the Komohana Research & Extension Center.

The piggery’s lower containment walls are composed of concrete blocks on a slab floor, with steel posts supporting a timber-framed metal roof. Each structure would facilitate a production program supporting four sows and one boar, producing 100 market wean off at 100 pounds average per year.

“More than just growing fruits and vegetables, members of the Puna community are looking at other ways to be self-reliant, such as hog production,” says Mike. “These are family farms with limited land and economies of scale. Hog farms start small and expand gradually, so having a pool of small farms is important to long-term sustainability.”

He adds, “Swine has great value in feeding the family and supplying niche markets, and demands a higher price than mainland imports. There’s a lot of room for industry growth. Piggeries can help these families work toward creating a Puna community where the people are self-reliant, resource-conserving, equitable, and ecologically restorative, while providing a good quality of life, today and for future generations.”

Technical assistance and reimbursement payments may be available for eligible producers through the USDA-NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program. For more info, contact Mike at mduponte@hawaii.edu.

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