As the average age of farmers and producers continues to rise, we need to take a step back and think about what we can do to ensure that the upcoming generations of swine producers will have a future in the industry. Whether it’s taking our own initiative as producers and making our operations more sustainable or partnering with our local cooperative, there are plenty of things that producers and beginning farmers can do to better the swine industry while ensuring the future of pig farming for future generations.
The first step to ensuring that future generations have a fighting chance is continuing to be more sustainable. Sustainability can be defined in many different ways, but you can think of it simply as continuous improvement on the farm. It is increasing our efficiency while decreasing our negative impact.
New technology in the swine industry continues to emerge each year and producers should learn to embrace these advancements. Over the last 50 years, the swine industry has cut down our usage of resources and our carbon footprint. Using new technology and being more concious about our farming practices, we have been able to decrease our land usage per pound of pork produced by about 76%; our water usage per pound of pork produced by about 25%; and our overall carbon footprint by about 7.7%. This is proof that our industry cares and we are committed to making strides every day to be more sustainable.
Another area where pork producers can help ensure future generations of pig farmers have a good foundation is with water and air quality - sometimes a pork producer’s biggest nemesis. As far as water quality goes, we need to focus on less nitrates leaching into the water due to over-applying our manure. One simple-step producers can take is to sample your manure before application every year to ensure that the correct rate is being applied to your fields. In regards to air quality, it is important to have open communication with neighbors at all times. Other practices such as using pit additives and wind breaks around the barns are also great options to help producers be more conscious of air quality and be an ambassador for our pork industry.
Contract production in the swine industry has been a huge impact by allowing the next generation of farmers to come back to the farm. It allows young farmers to build a lot of equity without having to bear the risk and uncertainty of the livestock markets. Farmers Coop Society has several different options for swine producers, whether it be contracts on existing sites, financing options for new sites, or helping you with the actual construction process of the new barn.
Farmers Coop Society is also committed to helping the agriculture industry become more sustainable while helping current and new customers ensure a solid foundation for future generations of producers. Whether it is as simple as assisting you in sampling your manure or helping you build a new hog building, we are here every step of the way!
Article by: Kiefer Te Gootenhuis