U.S. pork producers have a fantastic environmental story to tell. For more than five decades, we have embraced new technologies that increase efficiency while protecting our air, water and land. Farmers are stewards of the environment and thanks to continuous on-farm improvements in nutrition, genetics and overall pig care, we are doing more with less.
On my farm, for example, we use nutrient-rich manure from our hogs to naturally fertilize the corn and soybeans, while we plant cover crops in the off season to protect soil health and prevent erosion. We are also part of the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network, a partnership between the Ohio Farm Bureau and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service that highlights conservation practices in agriculture. I care about being a good environmental steward, making sure our natural resources are preserved for future generations.
There are numerous stories like mine from hog farmers across the country. To harness these stories, the National Pork Producers Council launched a campaign this week, “Farming Today for Tomorrow,” highlighting the innovative environmental measures taken by pork producers and a commitment to support further sustainability efforts.
Hog farmers have already made significant progress in using fewer resources.
Over the past 50 years, while doubling the amount of pork produced from 12 billion pounds in 1960 to 24 billion pounds today, the U.S. pork industry now uses 76 percent less land, 25 percent less water and seven percent less energy to produce pigs, according to the National Pork Board. This has also resulted in a 7.7 percent smaller carbon footprint.
To save as much water as today’s hog farms do over their predecessors from 50-plus years ago, the average American would have to take 90 fewer showers per year. Likewise, to understand the energy savings accomplished by hog farmers during the same timeframe, a typical household would need to eliminate the use of a refrigerator altogether.
Thanks to these efforts, U.S. pork producers have reduced their emissions contribution to only 0.4 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to 2019 Environmental Protection Agency data.
America’s hog farmers continue to make tremendous advancements and achieve more with less every day. As legislative and regulatory discussions continue on how our country can further reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, U.S. pork producers look forward to being at the table and a part of the solution.
Duane Stateler, a National Pork Producers Council board member, is owner/operator of Stateler Family Farms, a fourth-generation pork producer in McComb, Ohio. With his son, Anthony, they also have 1,200 acres of crop production, raising corn, soybeans, and wheat.
For more news, go to www.agri-pulse.com.