In September 2022, the Advancing U.S. Pork Sustainability and Market Value grant submitted by National Pork Board (NPB) and six collaborating organizations was awarded $20 million through USDA’s Partnership for Climate Smart Commodities program.
The grant program is designed to increase the sustainability of U.S. pork products by advancing climate-smart agriculture practices in Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri.
Grant Supports Climate-Smart On-Farm Practices
The grant will support the completion of Pork Cares Farm Impact Reports by pork producers in three states, and it will incentivize the adoption of climate-smart practices that are recommended through the reporting process.
No two farms are the same, so the project team will look to implement practices tailored to growers’ needs and report progress toward meaningful climate benefits.
Practices suitable to the region and production systems include:
- cover crops
- livestock integration (in cover crops)
- reduced or no tillage
- reduced fertilizer application
- manure management
- edge-of-field grass buffers
How It Works In 5 Steps
- Eligible producers in Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri sign up for a Pork Cares Farm Impact Report
- Producers work with Sustainable Environmental Consultants (SEC) to collect their data and complete a Pork Cares Farm Impact Report
- Producers decide on an implementation plan for climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices on their farm
- SEC and Ducks Unlimited provide technical assistance to support farms in adopting CSA practices
- SEC captures data regarding impact of CSA practices through the Pork Cares Farm Impact Reports
On-Farm Data Collection Will Help Promote Pork to Consumers
NPB conducts research, education, and promotion on behalf of the country’s 60,000-plus pig farmers. This work to collect on-farm data and support-implementation of new practices will help promote pork to consumers, who are increasingly expecting sustainably raised food.
Achieving meaningful climate outcomes is critical to maintaining consumer demand for pork.
More than half of U.S. consumers have made some modest changes in their purchasing decisions to be more sustainable, according to the 2021 Global Sustainability Study (Simon-Kutcher & Partners, 2021).
Continuing the Pork Industry’s Legacy of Stewardship
While the pork industry has a strong history of improving sustainability, pig farmers also strive to continuously improve. Over the past six decades, pork producers have used 75% less land, 25% water, 7% less energy and 7.7% fewer carbon emissions (Putnam et al., 2018).
With nearly 50% of pork’s environmental footprint attributable to the crops raised for feed, this project to advance both climate-smart pork management and feed production supply practices will make a significant impact on the overall sustainability footprint of U.S. pork. (Putnam et al. 2018).
The strength of this project is rooted in the expertise, diversity and reach of its partners.
- National Pork Board
- Sustainable Environmental Consultants
- Ducks Unlimited
- Trust in Food (a Farm Journal initiative)
- Farm Credit Council
- Millborn Seeds
Six entities provided letters of support.