This week the Pork Checkoff announced that four farms have been selected to be honored as the 2013 Pork Industry Environmental Stewards. The farms are focused on protecting natural resources while minimizing their environmental footprint. This year's award go to:
* Russell Brothers LLC, Monticello, Iowa
* Bacon Hill Farm, Dodge, Neb.
* Krikke Pork, Greenwich, Ohio
* Blue Mountain Farms, Milford, Utah
In a release announcing the naming of the farms, Lynn Harrison, chair of the Environmental Stewards selection committee, notes: "From turning manure into fuel to operate farm vehicles to generating enough power to light up 3,000 homes, the 2013 stewards are putting their own stamp on raising high-quality pork for customers." Harrison notes that the four farms are also adhering to the industry's We Care ethical principles.
Now in its 19th year, the award recognizes producers with a firm commitment to the environment and their local community. Winners were chosen earlier this year based on a range of factors including their manure management systems, water and soil conservation practices, odor control work, farm aesthetics and more. Judges represented pork producers and environmental organizations.
Here's a short description from the Pork Checkoff about each of the honorees:
Russell Brothers LLC, Monticello, Iowa -
Jason and Sarah Russell are building on a family legacy that can be traced back to the Civil War when the Russell family established its roots in Linn County, Iowa. They farm with Jason's brother, Eric, pigs, corn, soybeans and hay on 390 owned acres and 160 custom-farmed acres. They market more than 14,000 hogs a year as part of The Maschhoff production network. 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 famers Danny and Josie Kluthe seamlessly mix pork production and cutting-edge technology. An anaerobic manure digester on site uses natural gas to supplement fuel for their farm's vehicles and help provide electricity to area homes. The Kluthes have six 1,000-head finishing barns and market about 15,000 finisher hogs annually. They grow corn and soybeans on 280 acres and raise 100 chickens every year for family and friends. Being good environmental stewards is key to all of their endeavors at Bacon Hill.
Krikke Pork, Greenwich, Ohio -
Howard and Jane Krikke raise replacement gilts for Kalmbach Swine Management, based in Upper Sandusky, Ohio. Since 2006, Krikke Pork has been home to two 2,500-head wean-to-finish buildings, bordered on the south and west by 30 acres of native hardwoods. State-of-the-art technology is the watchword in the two barns, which house 5,000 wean-to-finish pigs. This includes tunnel ventilation, drop curtains, self-contained pits, flip-to-clean feeders and Integra-link feed tank monitoring.
Blue Mountain Farm, Milford, Utah -
Blue Mountain site 42304, located in the high desert of southern Utah, produces 55,000 hogs annually in 10 feeder-to-finish barns. The farm, a Murphy-Brown subsidiary and offshoot of Smithfield Foods, takes steps to minimize its environmental footprint and give back to the community, says Jim Webb, environmental, safety and public affairs manager for Circle Four. Blue Mountain farm supplies manure to Alpental Energy Partners, which uses anaerobic digesters and large Cat engines to produce electricity.