Many people think the Pig Adventure and Pork Education Center located at Fair Oaks Farms in northwest Indiana is a for profit, agri-tourism business. Though there’s a fee involved to take the Adventure, that money only helps offset the main purpose for the enterprise. It was conceived and built to educate visitors to Fair Oaks Farms about producing quality pork products for consumers. Both the Adventure and Education Center demonstrate how pigs are nurtured in modern production facilities while debunking continuing allegations by activist groups claiming modern methods show little concern for the animals.
This was the gist of the talk John Hoek, from Belstra Milling and Board Member of the Fair Oaks Pork Education Center, gave at the beginning of the “Gaming Dinner” held November 5th at the Farmhouse Restaurant at Fair Oaks Farms. The Gaming Dinner was named because it combined entrees based on wild game recipes along with raffles, silent auctions and other fund raising games. The dinner centered around two days of pheasant hunting` near the Fair Oaks Farms with proceeds of the dinner, games and hunts going to the Pig Adventure and Pork Education Center.
Most of the 90 hunters participating in the Pheasant hunt were involved in the pork industry. Three hunts were held each day at both the Crack of Dawn hunt club near Wheatfield, IN and at the Iroquois River Outfitters facility near Brook, IN.
Hunters came from as far away as South Dakota, Nebraska and the East Coast. Mike Hlavaty a representative of Kalmbach Feeds from Upper Sandusky, Ohio attended the Crack of Dawn hunt the first afternoon and despite the warm, windy weather managed to bag three pheasants. “I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s hunt,” he said, the weather is supposed to be better and that will make a big difference.
Prior to the Gaming Dinner the Gould Brothers Exhibition Shooting team gave an entertaining demonstration of shotgun shooting skills. They shot targets as small as grapes, as large as pumpkins and broke dozens of clay targets shooting nearly every way imaginable.
Nicki Gladstone, from Mix Design in Schereville, the company hired to produce and promote the hunt, said they’d already received over $80,000 from sponsors of the two-day event and with the proceeds from the hunts and gaming dinner, expected the total to be at or near $100,000.