Each October the Pork Checkoff and pork producers around the country celebrate National Pork Month. This year, National Pork Month allowed producers to showcase how they produce pork to consumers in their local communities.
“If you eat, you have a connection to a farmer every day,” said Karen Richter, National Pork Board President and Montgomery, Minn., pork producer. “October Pork Month is an opportunity to refresh the connection consumers have with farmers. We are committed to continuous improvement on our farms and to providing high-quality pork products for families across the United States and around the world.”
During National Pork Month, pork producers highlighted the six guiding ethical principles of the We Care® initiative to maintain a safe, high-quality pork supply. Producers are committed to:
•Producing safe food,
•Protecting and promoting animal well-being,
•Ensuring practices to protect public health,
•Safeguarding natural resources in all industry practices,
•Providing a work environment that is safe and consistent with the industry’s other ethical principles and
•Contributing to a better quality of life in their communities.
“The ethical principles define our values and who we are,” Richter said. “Consumers can be confident that the pork they eat was raised using these ethical principles.”
One of the ways that pork producers show their commitment to producing safe food and protecting animal well-being is through the Pork Checkoff-funded Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA Plus®) program. Participation in PQA Plus has reached record highs since its inception in 1989. Nationwide, more than 59,000 pork producers have achieved PQA Plus certification, with an additional 28,000 young people certified through the Youth PQA Plus® program.
“The rising participation in the PQA Plus program shows pork producers’ commitment to doing the right thing on their farms and to providing consumers with high-quality, responsibly raised pork,” Richter said.
Pork Producers also are committed to safeguarding natural resources. A recent study conducted by Dr. Garth Boyd and Dr. Roger Cady of the Camco group shows U.S. pork producers have nearly doubled pork production over the past 50 years while decreasing water usage by 41 percent, reducing their carbon footprint by 35 percent and shrinking the amount of land needed to produce 1,000 pounds of pork by 78 percent.
“Today, farmers can produce more pork with fewer resources than ever before,” said Brad Greenway, pork producer from Mitchell, S.D., and National Pork Board member. “The study shows just how much improvement farmers have made over the past century.”