The Pork Checkoff has selected four pork farms to be honored as the 2012 Pork Industry Environmental Stewards. The award, now in its 18th year, recognizes producers who demonstrate a firm commitment to safeguarding the environment and their local communities.
This year's award recipients are: Future View Farm, Willow Street, Pa.; Trail's End Sow Farm, Ames, Okla.; Reed Family Farms, Ottumwa, Iowa; and Dahl Family Farm, Dawson, Minn.
The Environmental Steward award winners were selected by a panel represented by pork producers and environmental organizations. The committee reviewed applications from pork producers who are committed to upholding the ideal relationship between pork production and the environment. The applicants' farms were evaluated on their manure management systems, water and soil conservation practices, odor-control strategies, farm aesthetics and neighbor relations, wildlife habitat promotion, innovative ideas used to protect the environment and an essay on environmental stewardship.
"Once again, the winners of this prestigious award consist of yet another great group of pork producers," said Lynn Harrison, chair of the Environmental Stewards selection subcommittee and former president of the National Pork Board. "The 2012 Stewards are real-world examples of how farmers who produce pork demonstrate the We Care principles every day as natural protectors of the environment and as good neighbors in their communities."
The award recipients will receive the recognition of their peers at the 2013 National Pork Industry Forum next March in Orlando, Fla. Descriptions of each of the award winner's farms are below.
Future View Farm - Willow Street, Pa.
Jeff and Sue Frey produce approximately 12,000 feeder-to-finish pigs annually on their farm set amid 675 acres of corn, soybean, wheat and barley near Willow Street, Pa. With two, 2,000-head-plus tunnel-ventilated finishing barns, the Freys hope their children will one day return to the farm.
Trail's End Sow Farm - Ames, Okla.
Caring for 10,500 sows and their litters is no easy task. Yet this is exactly what Jeff Mencke, production manager for Roberts Ranch of Oklahoma, the business that operates several sow farms as part of Hanor in the Ames area. The farm also no-tills cereal rye, winter wheat or triticale on 278 acres.
Reed Family Farms - Ottumwa, Iowa
Ryan and Lana Reed finish nearly 4,800 pigs per year on their family farm in Ottumwa, Iowa. Despite their home burning down last January, the family remains devoted to agriculture. The Reed's three children signify the family's sixth generation to farm in Wapello County.
Dahl Family Farm - Dawson, Minn.
Wayne and Laura Dahl operate a 4,400 head nursery barn and two, double-long finishing barns that have a total capacity of 4,400 head on their 240-acre farm near Dawson, Minn. In 2003, the Dahls built three, 1,100-head finishing barns, and a fourth in 2007. Plans call for son Jordan, who helps his parents with the pigs, to one day manage the farm with his wife, Ashley.