The Pork Checkoff, along with its cosponsor, National Hog Farmer magazine, has selected two pork farms, Wessling Ag of Grand Junction, Iowa, and Stephens Farms of Malta Bend, Mo., to be honored as the 2014 Pork Industry Environmental Stewards.
The award, now in its 20th year, recognizes producers who are dedicated to safeguarding the environment and contributing to their local communities.
The judges for the 2014 award represented pork producers and environmental organizations from across the country. The committee reviewed applications from pig farmers who uphold the ideal relationship between pork production and the environment.
The applicants' farms were evaluated based on their manure management systems, water and soil conservation practices, odor-control strategies, farm aesthetics and neighbor relations, and wildlife habitat promotion.
The applicants also authored an essay on the importance of environmental stewardship on their farm and how they implement innovative ideas to create tangible actions to safeguard and protect the environment.
"The 2014 Stewards clearly understand the comprehensive approach that producers need to take in raising pigs today," said Lynn Harrison, chair of the Environmental Stewards selection subcommittee. "These farms clearly show how bright ideas can become innovative solutions."
Meet the winners
Wessling Ag. Bruce and Jenny Wessling, along with their two daughters, raise about 18,000 feeder-to-finish pigs annually on their farm set amid 4,600 acres of corn and soybeans near Grand Junction, Iowa. Three naturally ventilated pig barns feature deep-pit manure storage and are surrounded by a natural vegetative buffer of evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs.
Stephens Farms. David and Sharon Stephens, along with three of their children, work on a farrow-to-wean farm that produces about 190,000 pigs per year. They also raise 600 acres of corn and soybeans on the adjacent land. Tunnel-ventilated sow barns feature cool cells for animal comfort in hot weather, as well as shallow-pit manure storage and shower-in/shower-out facilities for enhanced biosecurity.
Like past Stewards, the Wessling and Stephens families manage their farms with an eye on sustainability and on their local communities, while adhering to the U.S. pork industry's We Care principles.
The 2014 Environmental Stewards will be recognized by their peers at the 2015 National Pork Industry Forum next March in San Antonio, Texas.
Source: Pork Checkoff