Earth Day: Carbon footprint for US pork down 35%

As the world celebrates another Earth Day (April 22) research shows that America's pork producers have made huge improvements in environmental management over the last 50 years, with a carbon footprint reduction of 35%.

The research, titled "A 50-Year Comparison of the Carbon Footprint and Resource Use of the US Swine Herd: 1959 - 2009," found that modern pork production methods have led to a 35% decrease in the carbon footprint, a 41% reduction in water usage and a 78% drop in land needed to produce a pound of pork compared with a 1959 baseline.

Several on-farm practices have helped improve US pork's overall environmental sustainability. One example in the report shows that feed efficiency of pigs has improved 33%, which means that animals consume less feed for every pound of meat produced. This is a major factor that reduces both the amount of land required for growing grain and the amount of manure produced by pigs.

The National Pork Board has defined four pillars of environmental sustainability - carbon footprint, water footprint, air footprint and land footprint. And producers can now use the Live Swine Carbon Footprint Calculator to calculate the impact and improvements on their own farms. As each of the four pillars of environmental sustainability are completed they will be integrated with the others to provide a tool that pork producers can use to further their ongoing efforts to protect the natural environment in all of their farming activities.

Pig Progress

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