NEPHI, UTAH — Superior Farms officially opened its new Sheep Discovery Center in Nephi, Utah, on April 19.
The company created the center in partnership with sheep producers across six states and will use technological advancements while focusing on animal health and reducing its environmental footprint.
The facility currently houses thousands of lambs and ewes and will use production practices and genetics for a more consistent and sustainable lamb model.
“At Superior Farms, we’ve always been committed to raising healthy flocks in a sustainable way that is beneficial for the animals and the land,” said Rick Stott, chief executive officer of Superior Farms. “We’re welcoming the Nephi community to join our Superior Farms team and city officials in the cutting of the ribbon – signifying the launch of this new, exciting chapter for American lamb production.”
Some of the technologies used at the discovery center include Flock54 genetics, optimized nutrition, electronic individual animal identification, data-based production decisions, blockchain technology and year-round production.
The center uses climate control technology in the barns that can be used during inclement weather to create a low-stress environment for pregnant ewes. The animals always have uninhibited access to outside grazing on the center’s grounds.
“Sustainability is top of mind in every decision we make and initiative we implement,” Stott added. “This first-of-its-kind center utilizes several extremely advanced sustainability methods that will help reach the ultimate goal of carbon neutrality, as well as create a more consistent supply of lamb year-round and benefit American lamb as an industry.”
Utilizing this genetic testing program’s animal identification technology and database, the center can identify parentage and positive and negative traits in each animal as a baby.
The Flock54 system also had genetic management program to identify key health and production traits in ewes and rams for healthier offspring.
“What we’re doing is we’re adapting a database from the dairy industry, converting it to sheep. The sheep industry has no good database system that’s robust, nothing like the dairy industry,” Stott added in an interview with MEAT+POULTRY. “So much of what we’re doing is so similar to dairy in the ability to be able to track genetics, production, and then bring that back through feeding and data.”
When at total capacity in 2024, the center will employ 25 people and add more than $6 million annually into the local economy around Nephi, Utah, and supply sustainably-raised American lamb across the United States.