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U.S. pork producers making strides toward sustainability

Photo courtesy of the National Pork Board (NPB)

Today’s consumers want to know more about food products.

In response to this growing request, the pork industry released its new sustainability report, Commit and Improve: Pig Farmers’ Approach to Sustainability

Brett Kaysen, assistant vice president of sustainability for the National Pork Board, says the report’s findings highlight pig farmers’ progress toward sustainability. 

“What you’ll see is the progress pig farmers have made over time, their demonstration and commitment to continuous improvement of on-farm practices, and how that impacts the final product,” Kaysen said. 

The most recent life-cycle assessment, A Retrospective of U.S. Pork Production, identified a significant reduction in the use of natural resources, which led to a smaller carbon footprint per pound of pork produced.

“If you look back at 55 years of farming and segment that data in five year segments, you see producers have decreased land use by 75-percent, decreased the amount of water utilized by 25-percent and decreased energy use by seven-percent,” Kaysen said. “That turns into a seven-point-seven-percent reduction in carbon footprint per pound of pork produced.”

Pork producers nationwide subdued this feat by following the six We Care ethical principles: Animal well-being, environment, food safety, public health, our people and community. Kaysen shares why pork producers adhere to these principles.

“Why is that important in the supply chain? Customers of pork – packers, processors, retailers and (the) food service industry – want to be comfortable in knowing it was raised the right way,” Kaysen said. “We can take this report and say not only can you believe farmers, (but) here’s the data and proof points that suggest they’re doing it the right way.”