U.S. Pork Industry: Championing Sustainable Farming for a Better Tomorrow

Reflecting on our strides in positioning the U.S. pork industry as a responsible, data-driven leader in global sustainability.

Deep-Rooted Connection to Pig Farming

I’m honored to attend the COP28 climate summit in Dubai to represent the U.S. pork industry this week. I carry with me an understanding of the industry’s evolution and current global role, as well as a family history in the pork industry spanning at least five generations.

My great uncle, grandfather and uncle owned a sale barn in southern Missouri, once known as the feeder pig capital of the world. Witnessing the decline in producer numbers from millions in the 1950s to just thousands today fuels my passion for sustainability in pork production.

Today, our industry is producing nutritious protein while continuously improving our environmental footprint — a story that recognizes those who have paved the way for us and ensures our ability to continue feeding a growing population.

Operational Longevity Through We Care

Sustainability is not new to the U.S. pork industry. However, the documented improvements in environmental outcomes are a more recent development. This documentation is key to ensuring we can freely operate our farms and businesses. We’re adapting our practices for environmental stewardship and ensuring they contribute to our long-term business success.

Our mission is clear: U.S. pork aims to be a global leader in sustainability. We believe in doing the right thing every day for people, pigs and the planet, guided by our We Care Ethical Principles and ensuring continuous improvement in a financially sensible way.

Building Consumer Trust with “Surprisingly Pork”

To strengthen consumer trust and confidence in pork, the National Pork Board has launched the Surprisingly Pork platform. This initiative aims to change ingrained beliefs about pork, highlighting its nutritious benefits as a great source of protein and essential nutrients. It’s crucial for us to share pork’s many surprising elements, including its robust sustainability story.

On-Farm Benchmarking and ROI

Our producers have made significant strides in resource management and providing accessible, affordable protein. With tools such as the PQA Plus® site assessment, now confirmed to be compliant with ISO Technical Specification 34700, and Pork Cares Farm Impact reports, we’re enabling producers to recognize and enhance key sustainability metrics on their farms. (Check out the story about Trails End Farm in Minnesota.) These efforts paint a collective picture of our industry’s sustainability journey, fostering transparency and accountability.

Engaging in Global Conversations

Representing our industry at COP28 is both an honor and a responsibility. This global platform is an opportunity to forge partnerships and discuss strategies for more sustainable agriculture and ensuring global food security. We will also share producers’ continuous improvement journey, as well as the processes and structures in place to benchmark the current state and track progress.

In a world where meat consumption and environmental impact are hotly debated, we need to participate in these conversations with facts and data-driven approaches. We recognize the need for balanced, sustainable diets and are committed to demonstrating how pork can fit into this paradigm responsibly.

Forging Partnerships for Sustainability

Our partnerships, including our Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant, demonstrate our proactive approach in the supply chain. Collaborating with organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, Sustainable Environmental Consultants, and Nestrade, we’re creating tangible environmental benefits, aligning with global climate goals, and enhancing our product’s market appeal.

Future-Focused: Good for People, Good for the Planet

As we and our global leaders navigate challenges like reducing food waste and greenhouse gas emissions, the U.S. pork industry is committed to innovative solutions that align with our We Care Ethical Principles. These initiatives are not just about environmental benefits; they are crucial for maintaining consumer confidence and meeting market demands.

Looking Ahead: A Sustainable Future for U.S. Pork

As we move into 2024, we will continue showcasing the U.S. pork industry as a forward-thinking, responsible partner in global sustainability efforts. With verifiable data and the continued adoption of new research and innovative practices, we are leaders in the journey toward a sustainable future.

Join Us on This Sustainable Journey

We invite pork producers to learn more about our efforts and to start their Pork Cares Farm Impact Report to see how together, we can ensure continued freedom to operate and achieve shared goals across the supply chain for a sustainable future.