America’s pork producers have a long, proud history of responsible farming and caring for the well-being of their animals. After all, their livelihoods are tied to the land and the health of the animals in their care. As an industry, they have understood the importance of improving their farming methods to meet market demands and consumer expectations for safe, nutritious pork products.
Production-oriented, best practices education has been an industry pillar for decades. Strides made over the last 30 years have resulted in the U.S. pork industry producing the highest quality, safest and most affordable pork in the world -- and in our nation's history. This has been achieved through responsible pork production and ongoing improvement in the industry's practices focusing on food quality and safety, animal well-being, the environment and animal science.
Maintaining Trust in the Industry
Over the years America’s pork producers have come to understand that they must provide assurances to customers and consumers alike that the best animal care, environmental stewardship and food safety measures are being implemented. It has taken time to earn the public trust and pork producers are more determined than ever to retain it.
Pork producers know that when people learn more about pork production in the U.S., the more confident they are that pork producers have always been committed to doing the right thing.
Pork producers are committed to producing safe, wholesome pork in a socially responsible way. No one cares more than U.S. pork producers about producing high-quality products, taking care of their animals and natural resources, and contributing to their communities.
Pork producers have adopted a Statement of Ethical Principles that guides their everyday actions. The ethical principles make clear the pork industry’s values in the areas of food safety, animal well-being, worker safety, community outreach, and protecting both the environment and public health.
The We Care initiative, a united effort of the Pork Checkoff, through the National Pork Board, and the National Pork Producers Council, seeks to share to pork industry's story of responsible farming and continuous improvement.
Specifically, We Care affirms the commitment and obligation of all producers to:
o Produce safe food
o Safeguard natural resources
o Provide a work environment that is safe and consistent with the other ethical principles
o Contribute to a better quality of life in their communities
o Protect and promote animal well-being
o Protect public health
Pork Stewardship Award, 2011
The Pork Checkoff, along with its cosponsor, National Hog Farmer magazine, has selected four pork production operations to receive the industry's highest environmental honor, which is the 2011 Pork Industry Environmental Steward Award. The award, now in its 17th year, honors producers who demonstrate a firm commitment to safeguarding the environment and their local communities. The 2011 recipients are:
- Golden Circle Pork, Woodward, Iowa, represented by Rod and Missy Bice
- John M. Langdon Farms, Benson, N.C., represented by John and Eileen Langdon
- Wuebker Farms, Versailles, Ohio, represented by Jeff and Alan Wuebker
- Cleveland Pork, Elysburg, Pa., represented by Joel and Sarah Knoebel
"These four families, in addition to being committed stewards of the land, are great representatives of the thousands of pork producers who work every day to protect our environment and to be good neighbors in their communities," said Everett Forkner, president of the National Pork Board and a pork producer from Richards, Mo. "We are pleased that we can honor them here at our annual meeting as examples of how pork producers demonstrate the We Care principles every day."
The Environmental Steward award winners were selected by judges represented by pork producers and environmental organizations. 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.
"Once again, the winners of this prestigious award consist of yet another great group of pork producers," said Lynn Harrison, chair of the Environmental Stewards selection subcommittee and former president of the National Pork Board. "The 2011 Stewards are real-world examples of how producers demonstrate the We Care principles every day as natural protectors of the environment and as good neighbors in their communities."
The Pork Checkoff honors the Stewards with a cash award, a plaque, a video and with coverage in the Pork Checkoff Report magazine. The Stewards also are featured in National Hog Farmer magazine, co-sponsor of the Environmental Stewards program.
The National Pork Board is receiving applications and nominations for the 2012 Pork Industry Environmental Steward Award winners. The deadline is March 31. More information, as well as applications, can be found online at pork.org
, or by calling (800) 456-7675.
The award recipients will receive the recognition of their peers at the 2012 National Pork Industry Forum next March in Denver, Colo.
To view the 2011 Environmental Stewards Video, click here.
To view the entire news release with photos and video links of the 2011 Environmental Stewards Awards recipients, click here.
To see the list of our past winners, click here
Pork Quality Assurance® Plus
No one better understands the importance of pork quality, safety and responsible production than pork producers. Responsible farming and good corporate citizenship are central to the pork industry's mission.
The Pork Quality Assurance© program was conceived as a process by which the entire pork industry could continuously improve its practices. Accordingly, the program has been regularly reviewed, revised and improved. Today, the program is known as Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus®). PQA Plus has maintained its strong food safety tradition while expanding to provide the training pork producer need to measure, track and continuously improve animal well-being.
The PQA Plus program achieves its goals through:
- Producer training by a certified PQA Plus advisor which results in the producer receiving PQA Plus certification
- An objective assessment of on-farm animal well-being which, when combined with the education of the producer through PQA Plus certification, results in the farm receiving PQA Plus site status.
- A PQA Plus survey designed to evaluate the implementation of PQA Plus in the industry. Survey results are used to identify opportunities for improvement of the program’s information and delivery.
In 2009, the National Pork Board set the goal of having all pork producer s certified in PQA Plus by 2010. To-date there is over 53,700 pork producers who have become certified. And while the industry is not quite there yet, this record number of producers certified demonstrates the commitment of pork producers to doing the right thing.
The National Pork Board also set a goal to have all operations site-assessed by the end of 2010. Right now, over 14,200 sites have been assessed which represent more than 77 percent of all the pigs in the country. The National Pork Board continues to assess new operations each week to continue to work on reaching the goal.
There is no end to the process of continuous improvement; pork producers will continue to adopt advances in their farming practices in keeping with the industry's commitment to responsible pork production.
For more information about the National Pork Board's commitment to environmental stewardship, animal welfare and sustainability, visit http://porkcares.org/