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February 6, 2024
by Lauren Servick
Many pig farmers are facing extremely challenging business conditions this year. The Minnesota Pork Board is in collaboration with the National Pork Board to provide business resources for all producers that support family farmers and the long-term outlook for pig farming in Minnesota.
The Pork Cares Farm Impact Report is one of those resources. This program is an investment NPB is making to strengthen market demand for pork and foster valuable partnerships with retailers while providing farmers with insights into their farming practices and sharing valuable information to ensure neighbors and consumers that farmers are doing the right things socially, environmentally and economically.
It’s a proactive opportunity for farmers to document and share the hard work they have put into their farms and their appetite for continuous improvement. These collaborations can benefit all farmers by showcasing the high-quality, sustainable practices used on farms.
The Minnesota Pork Board, in collaboration with NPB, is investing Pork Checkoff funds into this program to elevate pork’s reputation as both nutritious and planet friendly. This initiative isn’t just about sustainability. It’s about showing the hard work farmers put into their farms and their commitment to sustainable and ethical practices.
Working in collaboration with Sustainable Environmental Consultants, farmers complete their Pork Cares Farm Impact Report to quantify practices, enabling SEC to see a farm’s current impact on things like reduced soil erosion, carbon sequestration and emissions reductions.
SEC then shares with the farmer a personal Sustainable Continuous Improvement Plan with potential practice changes to consider that also factors in the return-on-investment of adoption of practices. Using these insights, farmers can know where they stand today, and consider practice options for the future.
Sharing operation results on your own accord is one thing, but when it comes to sharing your on-farm data with others, NPB, the Minnesota Pork Board and SEC ensure confidentiality.
Your data will be uploaded through a confidential, secure online platform.
Individual data are not shared or made public in any way.
Data are only ever shared in an aggregated, anonymous way that bolsters the storytelling impact of farmers’ sustainability practices.
Data are a premium resource for everyone involved. SEC is a critical partner because of its long-standing reputation for secure data practices and its ability to provide timely, on-point confidential results to individuals that make sense from a business and operations perspective.
How you incorporate and promote sustainability within your farm is likely different than your neighbor down the road or in the next county. The collective environmental efforts of Minnesota farmers have a place to shine in the Pork Cares Farm Impact Report. Together, farmers can help consumers, business and industry, academia, and the next generation better understand the work being done today that will have impacts for generations to come.
Participating in the Pork Cares Farm Impact Report is the first step in exploring available grant funding opportunities for producers in Minnesota. The Advancing U.S. Pork Sustainability Grant offers financial incentives and technical assistance for the adoption of the following practices: cover crops, livestock integration, conservation tillage, manure management, edge-of-field and perennial grass buffers, and in-barn LED lighting.
Costs of implementing these practices without grant support may not always be feasible or cover enough of the risk associated with trying new practices. However, through this program, farmers can hedge some of the financial risk and help create a quicker return on investment. Eligibility for funds is determined with SEC through the Pork Cares Farm Impact Report process. NPB coordinates the distribution of grant dollars.
If you’ve got 60 seconds, you’ve got time to start the Pork Cares Farm Impact Report. Whether you’re waiting for the tractor to warm up or writing your to-do list in the morning, now is the time to get started on your report.
With data in hand, as well as identified ways to increase efficiencies, reduce costs and improve your farm’s financial security, farmers across Minnesota can really see the impact of this report come to life. Visit go.porkcheckoff.org/Minnesota to get started.
Servick is the director of public policy strategy and sustainability at the Minnesota Pork Producers Association. This is the debut of a quarterly Pork Pulse column written by various staff members of Minnesota Pork.
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