The Pig Improvement Company (PIC) is looking to build a new piggery at Grong Grong.
PIC currently already operates a piggery in the area.
According to CEO and Managing Director of Sunpork (the company which owns PIC Australia), Dr Robert van Barneveld, the new piggery will be completely separate from the existing piggery at Grong Grong.
“It’s not an expansion; it will be a new site which will be given over to a high health herd that will provide breeding stock across the country,” Dr van Barneveld said.
“Australia has closed borders to new stock, mostly for disease control.”
The purpose of the high health herd will be to create high quality breeding stock which can then be supplied to other producers.
“This will be a very specialised piggery. It’s specifically to support the genetics company.
“We can’t have sow stalls any more, but we remodelled and changed the entire Grong Grong piggery to get rid of them and we’ll never go back.
“The most fundamental way to optimise animal welfare is to optimise animal health and that’s what we’re aiming to do.”
A private meeting has already been held for landowners who will be the neighbours of the new piggery in order to understand the processes and changes which will occur around the site and how they will impact locals.
Some landowners anonymously expressed concern about the effluent pond at the current piggery citing fears of overspill and voiced the concern that a new piggery would require an expansion of the existing pond.
They said the company lodged a similar application in 2003 but withdrew it, a fact confirmed by a staffer from Wagga City Council.
Increased traffic from the development was another concern, as a source said there would be five trucks a day on the Old Narrandera Road.
“We believe that the Narrandera Shire Council won’t approve any more piggeries and this is why PIC is developing this land, which is owned by them and located in the Wagga local government area.”
“Also, when the current effluent pond overflows it already enters the Bun-didgerry Creek and eventually the Murrumbidgee River. This occurred in the floods of 2012 and 2017.
“There is already a strong odour emanating from the effluent pond at times and I believe this will intensify if the expansion goes ahead.”
However Dr van Barneveld said that as the new piggery was a totally different site, there would be no changes to the existing site.
“All the new effluent ponds will need to be fully bunded to prevent any overspill,” Dr van Barneveld said.
“People have a right to be concerned, but it’s being done the right way and for the right reasons.
“It’s a specialised piggery; it’s not a huge piggery.
“The reason we’re building it at Grong Grong is because it’s isolated and we can preserve our health status for as long as possible.”
The development of the new piggery is still in its infancy at the moment. PIC is still conducting an Information Request into the property through Wagga City Council and is yet to formally lodge a development application.
The site for the new piggery falls just within the shire boundaries of the Wagga City Council.
Dr van Barneveld expressed hope that the new piggery would be positive for the Grong Grong community.
“It will create another 25 jobs and there will be flow on from that as well.”