The September issue of National Hog Farmer  is devoted to the topic of Environmental Management. One of the highlights of this issue of the magazine is a special editorial section highlighting the 2013 Environmental Stewards of the Pork Industry. The Pork Checkoff recently announced the 2013 Environmental Steward award winners . Congratulations to these outstanding pork production operations: Russell Brothers LLC, Monticello, IA ; Bacon Hill Farm, Dodge, NE;  Krikke Pork, Greenwich, OH ; and Blue Mountain Farms, Milford, UT. 
In case you are not familiar with the history, the Environmental Stewards program began in 1994. Staff members of National Hog Farmer and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) formed a committee to draft a working proposal for a new pork industry recognition program that could showcase the efforts of pork producers who were doing an outstanding job of adopting state-of-the-art environmental and manure management practices.
From the beginning, all pork producers, regardless of size, geographic location or organizational membership, were eligible to apply and/or be nominated. The new “Environmental Stewards of the Pork Industry” program was announced by National Hog Farmer and NPPC in October 1994. The producers making up the first class of Environmental Stewards were profiled in a special report in the Oct. 15, 1995 issue of National Hog Farmer.
The primary emphasis of the Environmental Stewards program remains much the same to this day: recognizing good environmental stewardship and management practices. Applications and nominations are solicited from pork producers, operation managers and other industry-related professionals.
This year’s award recipients were selected by judges representing pork producers and environmental organizations. Their operations were evaluated on their manure management systems, water and soil conservation practices, odor-control strategies, farm aesthetics, neighbor and community relations, creation and maintenance of wildlife habitat, innovative ideas used to protect the environment and on an essay about the meaning of environmental stewardship.
In addition to being featured in this special National Hog Farmer Environmental Stewards insert and on the www. nationalhogfarmer.com website, award winners’ stories are published in the Pork Checkoff Report magazine and can be seen on the www.pork.org website.
Award winners receive a financial award, along with a special plaque, and will be recognized at the annual Pork Industry Forum in 2014.
Are you inspired yet? I would encourage you to apply for the award, or even nominate another pork producer whom you believe to be a good environmental steward. Nominations for the 2014 Environmental Stewards awards will be accepted through March 31, 2014. Check with your state pork producers association, or call the National Pork Board at (800) 456-7675 for more information or to submit a nomination.
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