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2010 pork environmental stewards announced


September 16, 2010
By Pork Checkoff

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September 16, 2010 – Four
pork production operations have been honored as the 2010 Pork Industry
Environmental Stewards.
September 16, 2010 – Four
pork production operations have been honored as the 2010 Pork Industry
Environmental Stewards.

The award, now in its 16th
year, recognizes producers who demonstrate a firm commitment to safeguarding
the environment and their local communities.

This year’s award
recipients are:

Pembroke Oaks Farm,
Wheatfield, Ind.

dekryger  

 

Pembroke Oaks Farm is a
modern 2,470-sow site in a unique setting near Wheatfield, Ind. The farm,
adjacent to 8,000 acres of wilderness known as the Jasper-Pulaski State Fish
and Wildlife Area, is part of the responsibilities of Malcolm DeKryger, vice
president of Belstra Milling in DeMotte, Ind., who oversees all pork
production.

The farm’s protected
location away from other livestock and neighbors offers a good setting for
producing replacement breeding-herd gilts. DeKryger works closely with the
Indiana Department of Natural Resources to make sure that the symbiotic
relationship the farm has with the nature area continues to flourish.

Completed in 2006, the
farm was designed to meet or exceed state and federal standards. Manure is
stored in a deep pit under the gestation barn, with the concrete storage
designed to prevent any tank defects and seepage. Perimeter tiles not only
prevent exterior hydraulic pressure, but the drainage lines have been fitted
with a water quality monitoring sump.

Good neighbor relations
have been a staple of management for DeKryger and his entire team at Pembroke
Oaks Farm. Not only did they host an open house before any pigs arrived on the
farm, but they continue to have that kind of openness today. The farm staff,
certified in Pork Quality Assurance Plus®, continues to stay in touch with
neighbors on an ongoing basis. Annually, the farm meets with neighbors to
discuss the farm’s “neighbor report card,” giving them a chance to bring up any
issues that they might have

Ranch Creek Farm, Carroll,
Iowa

juergens  

 

The Ranch Creek farm is
owned and operated by Peter and Aaron Juergens of rural Carroll, Iowa, and was
built in 2001 as part of the Juergens family pork operation. Peter and Aaron’s
parents, Ron and Elizabeth, have been raising hogs in west-central Iowa for
more than 35 years. The family operation has 5,500 sows and finishes about
150,000 pigs each year.

Ranch Creek features two
48-pen, naturally ventilated confinement buildings that house 1,200 pigs each,
growing them from 55 pounds to market weight. The Juergens brothers are
dedicated to producing quality pork, as shown by both being certified in Pork
Quality Assurance Plus® and a PQA Plus Site Assessment completed for the Ranch
Creek finishers.

Managing manure nutrients
to get maximum value has been a priority from the start. Manure collects in
eight-foot-deep pits beneath concrete slatted floors. As certified manure
applicators, the Juergens haul the manure in tankers and inject nutrients at
precise rates to meet the needs of their 120 acres of corn and soybeans. Any
remaining manure nutrients are delivered to neighbors through agreements
outlined in the operation’s nutrient management plan.

The Juergens have hosted
numerous visitors to their operation from across the country and the world.
Most are interested in the farm’s unique technology to control odors and dust.
Off the farm, however, the brothers serve as ambassadors for modern pork
production. Aaron has given many Operation Main Street speeches to explain how
today’s pork producers take care of their animals and the environment in a
responsible and sustainable way.

Pleasant Hill Farm, Barnett,
Mo.

long  

 

Pleasant Hill Farm,
located in the rolling hills near Barnett, Mo., is owned and operated by
Charlie and Nancy Long. The diversified farm features four nursery buildings
that house about 6,500 pigs, along with cropland, pasture and a cow-calf herd.

Since they bought the farm
in 2003, the Longs have improved the operation and made the natural environment
and wildlife priorities. Deer, turkeys, rabbits and many species of birds call
Pleasant Hill Farm home, facilitated by the Longs emphasis on keeping some land
fallow and in woodlots.

On the production side,
pigs arrive on the site at about 17 to 19 days of age. The Longs raise them to
about 50 pounds, and the pigs are shipped to finishing facilities away from
Pleasant Hill. Although small pigs don’t create much manure, it’s handled as a
valuable resource, with much the nutrient-rich effluent applied to surrounding
crop and pasture acreage on the 360-acre farm.

Nancy, who was a former
park ranger, offers her on-farm visitors a unique perspective when they visit
Pleasant Hill Farm. A recent lunch-and-learn session on the farm brought in
more than 60 visitors, including state and local officials, who toured through
the clean facilities and discovered firsthand how seriously the Longs take
their roles as good stewards of the land.

L&M Daughtry Farm,
Clinton, N.C.

daughtrey  

 

In 1989, Mark and Lynn
Daughtry started raising pigs at L&M Daughtry Farm near Clinton, N.C.
Today, the farm has an 800-sow, farrow-to-wean setup along with nine finishing
barns that hold more than 6,000 pigs.

Since the farm has a
combination of wetlands, high ground and crop ground, the Daughtrys have worked
with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to establish coastal
Bermuda grass pastures and hay fields. They also grow a variety of summer and
winter annual crops such as millet, sudan, rye and oats, to help stop wind
erosion as well as any potential water erosion.

Manure from the sow unit
and finishers is flushed from barns and treated in an anaerobic lagoon system.
Effluent is applied through reels or solid-set systems, with nutrients feeding
the various crops according to a certified nutrient management plan that is
incorporated into the swine operation’s state regulatory permit. Lagoon samples
are tested every 60 days to determine the nitrogen content, with the results
used to calculate the rate at which effluent is applied to crops. Another
source of nutrients for the land comes from a forced-air composter that the
family added in 2008 with design help from NRCS.

The Daughtrys seek to
balance nature, science and modern agriculture without disrupting the natural
balance of their farm, which is located in the Cape Fear watershed. They
continue to achieve this goal by combining proven methods with innovative
technology so that they can achieve long-term sustainability for future
generations.

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.

“This year’s winners of
the prestigious award are yet another great group of pork producers,” said
Randy Brown, chair of the Environmental Stewards selection subcommittee and
member of the National Pork Board.

The award recipients will
receive the recognition of their peers at the 2011 National Pork Industry Forum
next March in Phoenix, Ariz.