DES MOINES – The National Pork Board will donate $1 million to the Fair Oaks Pig Adventure Center, a project aimed to educate consumers about how pigs are raised in a modern barn. A second $1 million donation is contingent upon private fundraising of $7.6 million, the board said.

The Pig Adventure project is to be built as part of the existing Fair Oaks Dairy Education Center, which is roughly one hour outside Chicago. Project plans include a working 2,400-head sow farm built so visitors can see all aspects of production from an enclosed, elevated walkway. A separate education center will house exhibits and other educational tools.

The project costs are approximately $9.6 million, the board said. Indiana pork producer Belstra Milling, a major supporter of the project, said the company would assume all costs for the sow barn. Private funds are being solicited for the visitor center and education initiatives.

The National Pork Board's donation will come from the Pork Checkoff. Board members stipulated that the Pork Board's donation be used for the education center portion of the project, in keeping with the Pork Board's mission.

Long-term plans call for a distance learning component to the project that would allow students from around the country an opportunity to learn about modern food production. The Indiana Pork Producers Association has committed $250,000 to the distance learning initiative. Construction of the sow barn is scheduled to begin in spring.