pig farmer

The environmental impact of pig farming might surprise you

Pig farmers are leaders on many environmental fronts, from their continual emphasis on the welfare of the animals under their care to their stewardship of the soil, water and land they call home. Producers continue to ensure that the food they produce is done so in a responsible and caring way for animals, consumers and the environment.

Pigs produce less greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than humans

In GHG emission terms, raising pigs is easier on the environment than people are. Animals in agriculture are often blamed for a majority of GHG emission, when in reality humans are the biggest offenders. Humans generate 2.65 percent of total GHG emissions from just going to the bathroom. Meanwhile, pigs only create 0.3 percent in total.

U.S. animal agriculture is very eco-friendly

A 2006 United Nation’s report concluded that about 74 percent of agricultural GHG emissions come from developing countries. The vast majority of global GHG emissions attributed to livestock production (12 – 18 percent) results from deforestation and converting rain forests and other lands to grow crops or pasture. Unlike developing nations, the United States has actually seen an increase in the total acreage of forested land over the last several decades — even while total agricultural production has increased.

Looking ahead

Pig farmers are determined to lead in carbon-footprint knowledge because they’re aware of the benefits to both their pigs and the earth. Pig farmers and representatives from every piece of the pork food chain are diligently working to assess pork’s life-cycle from feed to fork. The goal is identify areas where farmers can continue the trend of raising more food using fewer resources for an even more eco-friendly result.

For more information on Pork Checkoff’s environmental sustainability effort, visit www.pork.org/sustainability