Pork Industry Environmental Stewards honored at pork forum

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Kansas City, Mo. -- The National Pork Board honored four farms as recipients of the Pork Industry Environmental Stewards Award at the annual National Pork Industry Forum. The award, now in its 20th year, recognizes producers who demonstrate a firm commitment to safeguarding the environment and to serving their local communities.

The award recipients are:

-- Russell Brothers LLC, Monticello, Iowa -- Jason and Sarah Russell are building on a family legacy that can be traced back to the Civil War. They farm with Jason's brother, Eric, raising pigs, corn, soybeans and hay. A 50-kilowatt wind turbine helps the farm conserve electric energy by generating 60 to 80 percent of the farm's needs.

-- Bacon Hill Farm, Dodge, Neb. -- Fifth-generation family farmers Danny and Josie Kluthe seamlessly mix pork production and cutting-edge technology. An on-site anaerobic manure digester uses natural gas to supplement fuel for their farm's vehicles and to help provide electricity to area homes. The Kluthes grow corn and soybeans and also raise hogs and chickens on their family farm.

-- Krikke Pork, Greenwich, Ohio -- Howard and Jane Krikke raise replacement gilts for Kalmbach Swine Management. They use state-of-the-art technology in their finishing barns, including tunnel ventilation, drop curtains, self-contained pits, flip-to-clean feeders and Integra-link feed tank monitoring.

-- Blue Mountain Farms, Milford, Utah -- Blue Mountain site 42304, located in the high desert of southern Utah, takes steps to minimize its environmental footprint and give back to the community. Blue Mountain Farms supplies manure to Alpental Energy Partners, which uses anaerobic digesters and large Cat engines to produce electricity.

"These forward-thinking stewards focus on innovative solutions and ideas on their farms. They are great representatives of thousands of pork producers who work every day to protect our environment and to be good neighbors in their communities," said Karen Richter, president of the National Pork Board and pork producer from Montgomery, Minn. "We are pleased to honor them at our annual meeting as pork producers who are raising high-quality pork for customers while adhering to the industry's We CareSM ethical principles."

The Pork Checkoff honors the stewards with a cash award, a plaque, a video and coverage in the Pork Checkoff Report magazine. The stewards also are featured in National Hog Farmer Magazine, co-sponsor of the Environmental Stewards program.

The Environmental Steward award winners were selected by judges representing pork producers and environmental organizations. The judges reviewed applications from pork producers who are committed to upholding the ideal relationship between pork production and the environment. Their operations 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 the meaning of environmental stewardship.

The National Pork Board has responsibility for Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, technology, swine health, pork safety and environmental management. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at 800-456-7675 or check online at www.pork.org.