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Most pigs are green. I know what you’re thinking. You’ve seen white, black, red and even blue-butt pigs, but green pigs?? No such thing. Okay, so when I say green I’m not referring to the color, but the sustainability of pork production and how well it fits with the crops we grow.
Right now we’re busy planting corn and beans. Much of the reason we’ll have a good yield is because of the fertility of the soil. The hog manure we apply to the soil has a major impact on fertility. We test the manure for nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. We also test our soil for those same nutrients. Where the soil is low in nutrients, we apply more manure to increase the fertility and the yield. This allows us to get the right balance of nutrients. In the past without testing there was a greater chance of over applying or under applying the manure, which is wasteful.
A popular subject is carbon footprint. Whether you are a consumer, producer or manufacturer, reducing your carbon footprint is important. Through the Pork Checkoff producers funded research efforts that measured and identified the overall carbon footprint involved with pork production. I’m happy to say the production system we use, with deep pits has the lowest GHG emissions. Why is that? Our facilities help our pigs grow more efficiently, which means they use less feed. The deep pits and manure application systems we have allow us to capture the most nutrients for the crops and reduce our need for commercial fertilizer. Today’s as farmers we produce 50% more pork with the same GHG emissions. That’s being responsible.
Most people I talk to don’t realize what a productive and efficient cycle pigs and crops create. While you may not actually see green pigs on our farm, you can feel good knowing every day we’re trying to do the best we can to be responsible to our neighbors and our environment.