Dakota Farmer

Brad Greenway: “We’ve never been ones to just sit back and complain about something. If you want to see something happen, try to get involved.”

Kevin Schulz, Editor

September 8, 2021

3 Min Read
CHANGE FOR RIGHT REASONS: The Greenways’ hog operation has changed over time, from dirt lots and hoop barns to the current modern, environmentally controlled buildings. Brad Greenway (right), with son Brent, says the changes better care for the animals. Kevin Schulz

Sustainability goes beyond taking care of animals and crops, and Brad and Peggy Greenway of Mitchell, S.D., are firm believers in telling the agriculture story and being involved.

Brad has been involved in pork producer organizations at the county, state and national level, including serving as the vice president of the National Pork Board in 2016. Over the years, he has helped tell the agriculture, specifically hog production, story through the NPB Pork Checkoff’s Operation Main Street program, giving him a platform to speak to civic groups and classrooms in South Dakota.

Related: Sustainability more than catchphrase for family

In 2016, he gained a broader stage when he was named America’s Pig Farmer of the Year, allowing him to take the hog and agriculture message to a national audience. After his terms on the NPB board of directors, Brad then joined the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance [now known as U.S. Farmers and Ranchers in Action], serving as that organization’s chairman.

Peggy, though a Twin Cities native, has adapted to farm life, and sees the importance of sharing the agriculture story. Prior to farming full time eight years ago, she was an investment assistant at a brokerage firm. That background as a city girl, she feels, may give her more credence with some of the public that may be misinformed about agriculture. She started volunteering with Common Ground, as “I could really see that their whole mission was trying to create opportunities for us women farmers to visit and talk with consumers, mainly women like ourselves who care about their families and may have some valid questions about agriculture.”

Realizing that a majority of the populace is far removed from agriculture, Peggy believes it is important to find common ground, so to speak, to be able to engage a farming opponent if the opportunity presents itself.

Though a lot of farmers don’t acknowledge or believe climate change exists, that could be an ice breaker into a conversation.

“If you can even just show that you believe in climate change — we’re farmers; we are science-driven — even that kind of opens up some doors,” she says. “We all have an impact. And then you can share all that agriculture has been doing and continues to do” to better the environment and to be more sustainable. “I think it helps to gain respect by being tolerant of different things a little bit, but I always try to bring it back to the science-minded focus.”

While climate change and the environment are hot-button issues, issues that agriculture often receives the blame, the Greenways acknowledge farming does contribute to the issue, but agriculture is also the answer.

“We farmers have a lot of opportunities to slow climate change by sequestering carbon and reducing [greenhouse gases]. Agriculture will be the solution,” Brad says.

Next-gen involvement

The couple’s son, Brent, is getting involved with the South Dakota Pork Producers Council and the South Dakota Soybean Association. Through his soybean association involvement, Brent has been working through the Young Leader program.

As Brad tells it, community involvement started with his parents, Tom and Janice. “We’ve never been ones to just sit back and complain about something,” he says. “If you want to see something happen, try to get involved. We’re ecstatic that Brent is doing that.”

The soybean leader program helps mold people to become spokespeople for agriculture in general and the soybean industry specifically.

“In farming as a whole, we know that there are some people out there that don’t think you are doing a good job. But the case may be that they just don’t know how you’re doing it, so they assume you’re not doing things the right way,” says Brent, adding the program helps communicate with those people. “The program encourages you to promote agriculture and become involved in agriculture, and speak up for agriculture.”

Brad partially credits his involvement with the NPB for giving him the boost to get Greenway Pork to where it is today.

“You’re around progressive people, and it makes you think of things you maybe wouldn’t have thought of,” he says. “We probably wouldn’t be where we’re at in pigs if we hadn’t been involved. It [involvement] gives you that optimism.”

About the Author(s)

Kevin Schulz

Editor, The Farmer

Kevin Schulz joined The Farmer as editor in January of 2023, after spending two years as senior staff writer for Dakota Farmer and Nebraska Farmer magazines. Prior to joining these two magazines, he spent six years in a similar capacity with National Hog Farmer. Prior to joining National Hog Farmer, Schulz spent a long career as the editor of The Land magazine, an agricultural-rural life publication based in Mankato, Minn.

During his tenure at The Land, the publication grew from covering 55 Minnesota counties to encompassing the entire state, as well as 30 counties in northern Iowa. Covering all facets of Minnesota and Iowa agriculture, Schulz was able to stay close to his roots as a southern Minnesota farm boy raised on a corn, soybean and hog finishing farm.

One particular area where he stayed close to his roots is working with the FFA organization.

Covering the FFA programs stayed near and dear to his heart, and he has been recognized for such coverage over the years. He has received the Minnesota FFA Communicator of the Year award, was honored with the Minnesota Honorary FFA Degree in 2014 and inducted into the Minnesota FFA Hall of Fame in 2018.

Schulz attended South Dakota State University, majoring in agricultural journalism. He was also a member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and now belongs to its alumni organization.

His family continues to live on a southern Minnesota farm near where he grew up. He and his wife, Carol, have raised two daughters: Kristi, a 2014 University of Minnesota graduate who is married to Eric Van Otterloo and teaches at Mankato (Minn.) East High School, and Haley, a 2018 graduate of University of Wisconsin-River Falls. She is married to John Peake and teaches in Hayward, Wis. 

When not covering the agriculture industry on behalf of The Farmer's readers, Schulz enjoys spending time traveling with family, making it a quest to reach all 50 states — 47 so far — and three countries. He also enjoys reading, music, photography, playing basketball, and enjoying nature and campfires with friends and family.

[email protected]

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