Taking Care of the Animals is Top Priority

At Smithfield Foods’ farms, caring for the pigs starts each morning with what the staff calls “rounds.” Over two to three hours, each pig is checked to ensure they have water and food, they’re eating and they’re in good physical condition. Pigs who seem unwell are examined.

5,000 Sows overseen by Lopez

“We’re here to take the best care of our animals,” said Orlando Lopez, the farm’s leader. Lopez oversees 5,000 sows and 17 employees on breeding, farrowing and herdsman teams on the farm.

Lopez attended veterinary school in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico, and learned about the opportunity to work in the U.S. 12 years ago. He began his career at Smithfield as a technician before developing into a breeding department head, which then led to his promotion to farm manager six years ago.

At Smithfield, Lopez discovered that working with pigs was interesting – especially the production cycle and how the pigs reproduce. Smithfield has also provided him the opportunity to supplement his training with courses on subjects like genetics and sperm management.

As a veterinarian, Lopez shares his knowledge with his fellow employees, helping to answer questions and understand how to care for pigs. Every morning he leads a short meeting with his staff to discuss animal care and welfare issues, such as watering and feeding, humane handling, appropriate euthanasia, and shelter.

“It’s important to protect the health and welfare of pigs on the farm because families depend on them for food.”
male pig farmer from utah standing next to a post