Las Vegas Livestock relied on waste from strip resorts. Now it’s discovering new methods to feed its 4,000 pigs
Las Vegas Livestock, the pig farm 30 miles north of the city, relied on scraps of food from casinos and restaurants across the city to feed its 4,000 pig population. When Governor Steve Sisolak mandated that all non-essential businesses, including restaurants, bars, and resorts, must close by April 16, the Las Vegas Livestock’s primary food sources were of great concern as restaurants were only allowed to offer take-away and delivery services and almost every restaurant on the strip shut down all operations. The tons of food coming from strip hotels and restaurants stalled, and owner Hank Combs realized he had to slow down the business and reduce his stock just to feed his cattle.
“As farmers, we know it well, there are times of abundance and scarcity,” the company wrote on Facebook. “While we are not facing a drought or poor harvest, we are in an unprecedented time of scarcity.”
The fifth generation farm feeds its pigs around 20 tons of pasteurized feed that is wasted every day from the region and surrounding states.
“The mandatory casino closings have undoubtedly hit our business hard. We were forced to slow down, but agriculture cannot be completely put on hold, ”the farm wrote on Facebook.
Back in 2017, the farm estimated that every tourist who visits Las Vegas wastes around a pound of grocery a day. “It may not sound like a whole lot, but multiplied by the nearly 45 million tourists who roam the city annually, anything that refuses is at the core of a solid business model,” Eater wrote at the time.
Overall, Combs estimated that his Las Vegas farm handled about 15 percent of buffet food waste in 2017. Some hotels threw away up to eight tons of food a day.
Fox 5 reports that the farm has developed a new machine that can remove food from its packaging, then cook and mix it before feeding it to the remaining livestock. The new machine, which was developed before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, opens up new possibilities for pulling sauces from packets and milk from jugs to feed the pigs, which eat five to seven times a day. The farm is still getting food from California, Idaho, and Denver to feed its supplies, but is asking local restaurants, grocery stores, and others with leftover food to send it to him instead of throwing it away.
“Things are moving fast, but as always, we continue to focus on providing quality care and feed to our animals,” the farm wrote on Facebook. “We will be reducing inventories in the coming months to make up for this. All food recycling options are welcome. “
The farm estimates that the number of pigs will be reduced from 4,000 to 2,000 by mid-April.
• Farm scrapes by to feed 4,000 pigs with no leftovers from the Las Vegas Strip [Fox 5]
• How a family of pig farmers manages the surplus in the world’s most indulgent city [Eater]
• The governor mandates that all resorts, restaurants and bars in Nevada must be closed for 30 days to prevent the spread of the coronavirus [ELV]
• How Coronavirus Affects Las Vegas Food and Restaurants [ELV]