Sustainability in the pork industry is central to our business. It’s key to ensuring producers, like my family  in Iowa, can freely operate our farms and businesses now and in the future.

Continuous Sustainability Progress Grows Demand

Embracing sustainability practices is not just our duty to the earth, though that’s a noble cause. It’s a way to future-proof our business strategy and produce a marketable product that stands out.

I think about how different sustainability must have been when my grandparents were Iowa’s Master Pork Producer award winners in 1983. (I’m so proud to continue our family legacy working in the pork industry.)

What we know today is different than what we knew then. Yet, some things will never change.

For instance, the swine industry has always been committed to continuous improvement. And now with our shared pork industry sustainability goals and metrics, the right strategic partnerships can ensure that our product is one that ends up on dinner tables around the world.

Unlikely Sustainability Partners

Strategic partnerships are vital in amplifying efforts and ensuring freedom to operate. Ducks Unlimited, the leading organization in wetlands and waterfowl conservation, is a great (and perhaps unlikely) partner to the National Pork Board (NPB). Yet, we have much in common.

We are both stewards of the land. We want to protect our environment: from our natural waterways to animal population habitats. We are also united around shared sustainability goals. Regenerative agriculture practices improve soil health, air and water quality, and create wildlife habitat.

While we have our obvious differences, our shared values reflect our commitment to sustainable and ethical practices.

Advancing U.S. Pork Sustainability Grant

Ducks Unlimited is a partner in NPB’s grant program that provides technical support to farmers implementing on-farm practices.

As part of the USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, the Advancing U.S. Pork Sustainability Grant is a valuable opportunity for producers to discover insights on the sustainability of their farm, receive technical and financial resources to make improvements that benefit their business, the pork industry, and the environment.

The Advancing U.S. Pork Sustainability Grant offers financial incentives and technical assistance for the adoption of the following six* sustainable practices.

Eocene Environmental Group (formerly Sustainable Environmental Consultants) is an NPB trusted partner that assists with private and secure data collection. The organization works with producers to complete a Pork Cares Farm Impact Report while also offering a sustainable continuous improvement plan and a return-on-investment tool. These resources arm producers with key data and records to create new business partnerships and opportunities that better the bottom line.

Grant Supports On-Farm Practices

Biologists with Ducks Unlimited provide technical assistance to farmers and practice verification for four of the six Advancing U.S. Pork Sustainability Grant practices.

  • Multi-species cover crops
  • Livestock integration on cover-cropped acres
  • No-till systems
  • Edge-of-field/perennial grass buffers

For producers, costs to implement these practices without grant support may not be feasible in a given year of operation. However, through this program, those changes can become more of a reality and an overall way to improve return on investment.

Producers who qualify for the grant receive technical know-how from Ducks Unlimited if they choose to adopt one of the above practices.

Implementing Climate-Smart Practices

The U.S. pork industry is committed to innovative solutions that align with our We Care Ethical Principles – crucial components for maintaining consumer confidence and meeting market demands.

No two farms are the same, and adopting climate-smart practices helps protect freedom to operate by showcasing the high-quality, sustainable practices of our industry. There are benefits for producers such as:

  • Identifying efficiencies and opportunities
  • Strengthening business and reputation
    • A custom, professional report for producers enhances their operation’s image with packer and retail partners showing their hard work and readiness to do more with the right resources.
  • Increase Return On Investment
    • Professional technicians provide analysis of each producer’s data and work to identify practices that will help reduce operating costs, drive ROI, and continue to lead the industry toward excellence.

Partnering for a Stronger Industry

NPB and its partners are trying to increase the sustainability of U.S. pork products by advancing climate-smart agriculture practices. Bringing together the right partners, no matter how unlikely, can allow us to leverage resources, share knowledge, and set best practices that benefit pork producers and everyone in the supply chain.

This Earth Month, NPB recognizes and thanks our partners, like Ducks Unlimited, in helping producers identify efficiencies and opportunities on farms in a planet-friendly way.

Pork’s Sustainability Progress

Pork producers have been stewarding our planet’s natural resources for decades, caring for the animals we raise, making sure workers are treated well, and giving back to communities, all while providing the world with safe, sustainable, high-quality food.

I encourage you to read more about pork’s sustainability progress and view the latest Pork Cares Farm Impact Report snapshot that shares on-farm sustainability measurements from 2022 farm data.

Learn More About the Pork Cares Farm Impact Report