MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Sept.16, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced $20 million in funding for advancing U.S. Pork Sustainability through its Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities program.
In partnership with Ducks Unlimited (DU), Sustainable Environmental Consultants and others, this National Pork Board (NPB)-led grant application is designed to increase the sustainability of U.S. pork products by advancing climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices in the states of Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and South Dakota. The grant will incentivize soil health and manure management practice adoption as well as provide support for farmers interested in creating on-farm sustainability plans for their operations. Improved on-farm management, in turn, has wildlife and other ecosystem benefits throughout the watershed and beyond.
"Improved on-farm sustainability practices will have a direct impact on nearby habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife," said Dr. Karen Waldrop, Ducks Unlimited Chief Conservation Officer. "DU is proud to work with our partners in the Midwest to strengthen the bond between producers and conservation, and we thank Secretary Vilsack for this tremendous support."
The National Pork Board supports more than 60,000 pork producers across the U.S. by providing tools and resources to educate and promote pork products. The on-farm sustainability reporting program, funded by NPB through Pork Checkoff dollars, is designed to build upon a strong history of continuous improvement and help position the protein to enhance customer trust and product value in a quickly changing consumer world.
"Farmers have been honing sustainable practices for generations—but we want to help them demonstrate their progress and keep up the momentum," says Ashley McDonald, interim vice president of sustainability for NPB. "The collaboration represented by this grant is second to none, pulling in experts from the food chain, conservation community, and first-class data technology to advance on-farm sustainability and benefit agricultural families around the country."
Additional partners on the grant include Nestlé, Farm Credit Council, Farm Journal and Millborn Seeds. Nestlé has committed an additional $10M to the effort as part of their internal sustainability efforts to reduce the climate impact of their supply chain.
The project exemplifies the potential for commodity groups, private industry and conservation organizations to partner on common goals and offer data-backed and validated solutions to farmers seeking to apply continuous improvement efforts and receive the credit for those efforts.
"Our team is excited to be the quantification and verification partner for this project," said Sara Crawford, president, Sustainable Environmental Consultants. "Trusted, verifiable data is critical to help share the producer’s story all along the supply chain and with consumers who are looking for reassurance about the food they feed their families."
"DU and our partners are excited about this opportunity to help farmers implement practices that will make their operations more resilient and profitable while achieving meaningful environmental outcomes," said Ducks Unlimited Director of Agriculture and Strategic Partnerships, Billy Gascoigne. "We thank Secretary Vilsack for this tremendous support for agricultural practices that benefit producers, consumers, wildlife habitat and the climate."
For more information, visit www.ducks.org, and be sure to Follow DU’s Twitter feed – @DucksUnlimited and @DUConserve – to get the most up-to-date news from Ducks Unlimited.
About Ducks Unlimited
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 15 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow, and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.
About National Pork Board
The National Pork Board has responsibility for Pork Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in consumer education and marketing, retail and food service marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, science and technology, swine health, pork safety, and environmental management and sustainability. For the past half-century, the U.S. pork industry has delivered on its commitment to sustainable production and has made significant strides in reducing the environmental impact of pig farming. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or visit porkcheckoff.org.