Demonstrating Viability of Cooperative Swine Aggregator Using Inoculated Deep Litter System

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2019: $25,000.00
Projected End Date: 05/31/2020
Host Institution Award ID: G252-19-W7501
Grant Recipient: Ohana Coffee Farm & Assi Piggery
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
Principal Investigator:
Atto Assi
Ohana Coffee Farm & Assi Piggery

Information Products


  • Animals: swine


  • Animal Production: animal protection and health, livestock breeding, manure management
  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, mentoring, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: cooperatives
  • Sustainable Communities: employment opportunities, local and regional food systems, quality of life

    Proposal summary:

    This project investigates the economic viability of a cooperative aggregation model for small-scale swine production in a tropical environment. Pork is a critical part of the culture in Hawai‘i for local consumers including Native Hawaiian, Filipino, Portuguese, Tongan, and Samoan communities. Many of these consumer groups prefer to buy whole pigs directly from local farms as pork cannot be purchased in this form from any other source in the state. Small piggeries often cannot meet demand or provide a consistent supply for consumers seeking farm-raised pork, whether it be for on-farm sales, marketplaces, restaurants, or value-added product ventures. Hawai‘i Swine Producers Cooperative (HSPC) aims to meet this demand by aggregating piglets from members, raising them to market weight, and selling them to local markets. In turn, this can increase the viability of small-scale local piggery operations by improving efficiency through economies of scale.

    Hawai‘i Swine Producers Cooperative members operate piggeries using an innovative method called the Inoculated Deep Litter System (IDLS). IDLS utilizes green waste bedding and enhanced microbial activity for low-maintenance, low-odor pork production with reduced environmental impacts. During this project, the Cooperative aggregation site will host two workshops to educate local farmers about the benefits and methodology of IDLS, promoting adoption of the system and recruiting producers for HSPC membership and aggregator participation. HSPC members will also construct a portable IDLS pen and lead presentations at local agricultural events to demonstrate sustainable pork production methods and recruit new members.

    Throughout the project, costs to establish and operate the aggregation site will be tracked, including supplies and detailed labor records. These financial records will be used to assess the economic feasibility of the cooperative aggregation model. This cost analysis can inform the establishment of future IDLS piggeries and swine aggregation sites in Hawai‘i and the Pacific Islands.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1: Construct deep litter system at swine aggregation center.

    • Purchase supplies
    • Install litter layers
    • Inoculate litter bedding

    2: Develop and share standard operating procedures for the swine aggregation center.

    • Write SOPs for aggregation center with technical advisor
    • Revise SOPs after rearing first 50 hogs
    • Disseminate finalized standard operating procedures

    3: Raise and sell first litter of 50 pigs.

    • Receive 50 piglets from Hawai‘i Swine Producers Cooperative members
    • Identify buyers
    • Rear hogs to market weight, sell to buyers
    • Record operational costs and revenue (including in-kind inputs and time)

    4: Host 2 on-farm workshops on Inoculated Deep Litter System; showcase swine aggregation services.

    • Educate 50+ local producers on IDLS and HSPC services through workshops
    • Conduct outreach and collect data from workshop participants and swine producers
    • Recruit 2-5 additional farmers to join Hawai‘i Swine Producers Cooperative

    5: Construct and present Portable IDLS Pen to producers and the public at 3 local events.

    • Build portable pen
    • Plan, publicize, and lead 3 presentations of the portable pen

    6: Evaluate economic viability of cooperative aggregation and livestock-rearing center.

    • Evaluate income and expenses for deep litter system installation, feed, and rearing first 50 hogs
    • Determine potential for profitability at various scales of production
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.