Members of Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) now have a new membership benefit available to them – an environmental readiness and response service, which will assist with various issues that confront their farms.
IPPA has retained the services of Ted Funk, a professional engineer and former University of Illinois faculty member, to visit individual farms by request of producer members. IPPA will share in the cost of this confidential professional service. Examples of assistance include:
- Identifying areas of the farm facility or manure handling system that might be out of compliance with environmental regulations or could potentially cause problems with water quality or odor concerns
- Basic review of the farm’s manure nutrient management plan to help identify parts that need to be updated or improved
- Assist producers in providing a response to a regulatory agency’s visit or written notice or help in preparation of an upcoming visit
- Suggest areas where the farm might begin or expand work with a technical service provider or other consultant.
“Hog farmers are committed to environmental responsibility in every aspect of their farms,” says Dereke Dunkirk, a hog farmer from Morrisonville, IL and current IPPA president. “We take a number of steps each day to ensure we are caring for our land, air and water. This new membership benefit is like an environmental preventive maintenance program, which will continue to further enhance the pork industry’s commitment to the environment. No one is more dedicated to preserving our natural resources and protecting the environment than farmers.”
The service visit can go beyond the farm visit to include follow-up help on some details. Also, Funk is well acquainted with the range of support services needed for a wide range of issues, and can help producers find additional help where needed.
IPPA has already sent Funk out on some pilot farm visits, to see how things go. “I thoroughly enjoy talking with farmers about their operations,” Funk says. “I’ve been doing farm visits all over the state as an Extension ag engineer for more than 30 years; now that I’ve retired from the University of Illinois and have more time to focus on this type of service, I am sure I can help our Illinois pork producers gain confidence that they are doing the best possible job of environmental stewardship.”
“I found Ted’s visit to be very valuable for our farm,” says Brad Folkers, a hog farmer from Polo, IL. “Ted was able to give us some practical tips to improve our odor management and manure management practices. It really helps to have another set of eyes look at your farm and try and find areas where you can improve on. I would encourage all pork producers to take advantage of this service.”
Interested producers should contact IPPA directly to sign up for and schedule the service. For more information, contact Jim Kaitschuk or Tim Maiers at the IPPA office at (217) 529-3100 or visit www.ilpork.com.