The results paint a promising picture for both retailers and producers highlighting practices that protect freedom to operate and secure pork’s place on the retail shelf. While we’re encouraged by the industry’s progress, we recognize this is one step in a long journey ahead.  

A Carbon Sink in Agriculture

One of the most significant results from the 2022 pork sustainability report is the industry’s emerging role as a carbon sink. With a net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions figure of -0.44 tons CO₂ equivalent per acre and 0.28 tons of carbon sequestered per acre, pork producers are actively removing more carbon from the atmosphere than they are producing. This achievement reflects the pork industry’s potential to contribute positively to retail partners and food service customers looking to bolster their environmental goals through sustainable sourcing. 

2022 Pork Cares Farm Impact Report Results

  • 225 producers participated (up from 120 in 2021) with a 57% renewal rate year over year 
  • 3.3 million pigs represented in the program (up from 1.5 million pigs in 2021) 
  • 10,000 acres of conservation acres across the industry 
  • -0.44 tons/acre net GHG emissions  
  • 0.28 tons of carbon sequestered per acre 
  • 1.14 tons per acre soil erosion rate – one-fourth of the national average 
  • 52 kilowatts of energy used per pig 

Click here to read the full report

Conservation Practices and Their Impact 

For farmers, methods that improve and conserve environmental resources have been best practice for generations. Based on 2022 data from the farms participating in Pork Cares Farm Impact Report program, these pork producers have nearly 10,000 acres dedicated to conservation practices, building on more than six decades of progress. These efforts include the establishment of buffer strips, wetlands, grassed waterways, and more. This milestone represents the pork industry’s ongoing dedication to environmental stewardship. 

Lower Soil Erosion Rates: A Benchmark for Agriculture 

The pork industry is also leading the way in soil preservation with a soil erosion rate of just 1.14 tons per acre, showing a commitment to land stewardship that extends beyond the barn. Much of the industry’s feed comes from corn and soybean crops, which are central to pigs’ diets. The sustainability practices for these crops directly impact the environmental footprint of pork production.  

  • Manure management practices, such as applying manure proves a circular approach to nutrient management.  
  • Cover crops and conservation tillage, including no-till farming, are key practices that minimize soil disturbance.  

These practices prevent soil erosion and enhance soil health. This not only protects the land but also serves as a significant selling point for retailers and consumers who value sustainability. 

The Drive for Demand: A Sustainable Edge in a Competitive Market 

For pork producers, sustainability is key to unlocking market potential. In a competitive protein market, retailers are prioritizing partnerships with suppliers who help them meet environmental goals. This shift is a response to consumer demand for environmentally responsible sourcing.  

By showing progress in reducing emissions, enhancing soil health, and other sustainable practices, pork producers can attract partnerships and opportunities that protect pork’s place on the retail shelf. These achievements can tip the scales in a competitive marketplace, making sustainability a strategic advantage for pork. 

Protect Freedom to Operate 

Reports about pork industry sustainability help producers protect freedom to operate by using data to tell the industry’s sustainability story. The third party-verified data from individual on-farm reports is made anonymous and combined into state, regional, and national reports. These reports are the foundation of building public trust and forging new partnerships. 

By participating in the Pork Cares Farm Impact Report program, producers can showcase the hard work and dedication that goes into operations. It’s a chance to display your commitment to your land and illustrate that with the right resources, there is even more that we can achieve together. 

Click here to learn how it works. 

Learn more about the Pork Cares Farm Impact Report