To gain practical skills for sustainability management, join us at the COMMIT! Forum in DC October 11-12 2017 By Gina-Marie Cheeseman Our pork chop and bacon habits require a lot of pigs. Which means those in the pork business are in the pregnant sow business. Unfortunately, industry standard "gestation crates" are pretty miserable due to their tiny size. Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest hog producer, is committed to transitioning all pregnant sows on company-owned farms to group housing systems by the end of 2017. The company is well on its way to meet the goal. As of the end of last year, 87 percent of its company-owned farms house pregnant sows in group systems. Smithfield recommends that all of its contract sow grocers in the U.S. transition to group housing by the end of 2022. Although it is only a recommendation, the company states in its latest sustainability report that “if growers choose not to participate, their current contracts will remain unchanged, although extensions are less likely.