The National Pork Board today honored four farm families as recipients of the 2011 Pork Industry Environmental Stewards Award at the annual National Pork Industry Forum being held here. The award, now in its 18th year, recognizes producers who demonstrate a firm commitment to safeguarding the environment and their local communities.
The 2011 award recipients are:
Golden Circle Pork – Woodward, Iowa — Rod and Missy Bice produce 6,600 wean-to-finish pigs annually on their farm set amid 1,400 acres of corn and soybeans. They and their children continue the farming tradition that began more than a century ago by both sides of the family. The Bices were also named Environmental Stewards for Iowa in 2010.
- John M. Langdon Farms – Benson, N.C. — John and Eileen Langdon produce 20,000 finishing pigs per year on their 205-acre farm. They, together with their three grown children, also maintain 65 brood cows on the same farm that’s been in the family for 70-plus years. The Langdons also were named Environmental Stewards for North Carolina in 2010.
- Wuebker Farms – Versailles, Ohio –– Jeff and Alan Wuebker raise nearly 43,000 weaned pigs per year on their diversified farming operation near Versailles, Ohio. The brothers, together with their families and employees, tend to not only the pigs, but to about 50 head of dairy beef cattle and more than 1,200 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa.
- Cleveland Pork – Elysburg, Pa. — Joel and Sarah Knoebel, together with Joel’s father and brother, produce feeder-to-finish pigs in their 4,400-head, tunnel-ventilated building on the 500 acres they farm near Elysburg, Pa. The couple has started a scholarship at the local high school to help students who wish to pursue an agricultural career.
“These four families, in addition to being committed stewards of the land, are great representatives of the thousands of pork producers who work every day to protect our environment and to be good neighbors in their communities,” said Everett Forkner, president of the National Pork Board and a pork producer from Richards, Mo. “We are pleased that we can honor them here at our annual meeting as examples of how pork producers demonstrate the We Care principles every day.”
The Pork Checkoff honors the Stewards with a cash award, a plaque, a video and with coverage in the Pork Checkoff Report magazine. The Stewards also are featured in National Hog Farmer magazine, co-sponsor of the Environmental Stewards program.
The Environmental Steward award winners were selected by judges representing pork producers and environmental organizations. The judges reviewed applications from pork producers who are committed to upholding the ideal relationship between pork production and the environment. Their operations were evaluated on their manure management systems, water and soil conservation practices, odor-control strategies, farm aesthetics and neighbor relations, wildlife habitat promotion, innovative ideas used to protect the environment and an essay on the meaning of environmental stewardship.
The National Pork Board is receiving applications and nominations for the 2012 Pork Industry Environmental Steward Award winners. The deadline is March 31. More information, as well as applications, can be found online at pork.org, or by calling (800) 456-7675.