Posted April 20, 2012
April 22 is Earth Day and Iowa’s environmentally conscious pork producers join in the world’s celebration.
There are 8,000 pork operations in Iowa and the production practices used by hog farmers are designed to preserve and protect our natural resources and improve the environment. Manure management plans, soil and water conservation practices, air quality strategies and wildlife habitat management are all inherent in the industry’s legacy and its future.
This is especially so for Boone County pork producers Rod and Missy Bice of rural Woodward. The Bices were named 2011 pork industry environmental stewards, a national award given annually to pork producers who demonstrate a firm commitment to safeguarding the environment and their local communities. Rod and Missy have farmed for 30 years and have always maintained a vision of feeding families in a sustainable, economic and environmentally conscious manner.
“We recognized early on that in order to thrive in today’s agricultural world, we would need to be efficient, cost-conscious and strive for economic and environmental excellence,” Rod said. “Innovative management, preservation of natural resources and working together as a family is what will keep this farm in the Bice family for another 100 years.”
The pork industry employs many different strategies for manure storage and application to minimize the impact on air and water quality. A vast majority of pork producers are diversified farmers and also raise crops. Most producers either inject liquid manure from hog barns directly into the crop land, or land apply and then incorporate the nutrients into the soil to conserve the nutrients and improve soil quality. It also virtually eliminates runoff into streams and waterways. An added benefit is a reduction of odor during and after nutrient application.
By regularly attending training and certification programs offered by the Iowa Pork Producers Association,IowaStateUniversityand others, pork producers stay abreast of the latest environmental protection methods.
Farmers have been practicing good conservation for generations and are the original environmentalists. Earth Day is celebrated just once a year, but protecting and preserving the environment is a daily practice for Iowa pork producers.