Alec Boekhoven is a hog producer in Southern Ontario who recently made the transition to loose sow housing. In his search for the right hog barn design and ESF equipment for his operation, he met with numerous equipment salesmen and barn designers. In this article, you will hear from Alec on why he chose New Standard to design and equip his barn. Take it away, Alec!
Our New Standard Experience
In short, we chose to go with New Standard because they changed the conversation about ESF. We came to them and said, "This is what we think we want." They were able to understand the production level we wanted to achieve, and had some very good ideas on how to make the barn work.
They Didn't Sell Us Equipment
One thing we noticed was that with New Standard the conversation was always about the sows comfort and welfare which in turn brings better production. This was something that was important to us. They weren't just selling the NEDAP system they were selling a concept, a design, a new way of viewing ESF and loose housing.
When it came to some start-up challenges, Kevin would come up with creative ways to make things better, and that was extremely valuable to us. They were able to explain how the sows would behave within our ESF groups and they even spent the time it took to teach us an entirely new ventilation system.
Looking at Things From a Sow's Point of View
One of the things I appreciate most is that they helped us look at our building design from the eyes of the sow, not just "well this fits here." The ideas and common sense approach they brought to building design was refreshing. We never felt rushed to make decisions. In fact, we were the ones in a rush! It was Kevin who was trying to slow things down a little so that we would make the correct decision and not a knee-jerk decision. They looked at our facility and said, "Okay, this is where you are now, where do you want to go?"
Answering All Our Questions
When you're working on a new barn design there are a lot of factors at play. New Standard was able to answer all our questions. Questions like:
- How should we adjust square footage based on number of sows?
- Where are the sows going to lay?
- What will the social hierarchy look like?
- Where should we locate our boars?
- How many pens/stalls?
- What trends have you seen in other barns and designs?
- How can we set up parity groups to manage aggression?
- How can we use ventilation to make sure the sows are comfortable?
These were just some of the millions of questions that we asked throughout our various phone calls. I appreciated that we were never treated like an afterthought. And they always returned our calls.
Great Service Team
They have a great service team with Dwayne; there isn't much he can't talk me through. He always gets back to me, and I can tell he truly wants us to succeed. The New Standard team has been able to teach me what I need to know to get through any challenges my barn may face. Dwayne has patiently taken the time to talk about each controller and wiring diagram to help me better understand how our system thinks and works. They really make it easy.
Partners in Our Success
We chose New Standard because they helped us believe in a system that would work. Not only did they pull on their experience with other barns, they also provided references and confidently told us to give other producers a call. They are a big part of our initial success and I look forward to working with them more in the future. They have helped us build a facility that can adapt with technology and always keep up with the newest concepts and ideas.