Moore named Minnesota Pork Board Environmental Steward of the Year

His projects at New Fashion Pork include manure management plans, odor research and product development to benefit both pig farmers and the environment.

February 15, 2024

7 Min Read
Minnesota Pork Board

The Minnesota Pork Board recognizes Jay Moore as this year’s Environmental Steward of the Year award recipient. Moore was honored at MPB's annual award recognition reception on Feb. 12 at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center in Mankato, Minnesota. 

Experience, dedication and commitment to the land help describe why Moore is deserving of the award. Being a good neighbor is of upmost importance to Moore and he has proven that throughout his career. 

Making Minnesota home

Growing up in Austin, Texas, Moore found his way to Minnesota in 2003 to work as the director of environmental services at New Fashion Pork. He earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental science from East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. He continued his education and obtained his master’s degree in environmental health science from the University of Oklahoma. After graduating, Moore worked for some time in Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado doing everything from cattle ranching to teaching at a university. 

In 1999, he began his career in the pork industry by taking the position as air quality coordinator, conducting odor research, for Seaboard Farms located in Guymon, Oklahoma. He transferred to Colorado where Seaboard Farms was facing stringent environmental laws. In 2003, New Fashion Pork recruited him to fill their position as the director of environmental services in Jackson, Minnesota, a state that he and his wife, Rhonda, had never visited before. After three visits to meet with owners Brad and Meg Freking, the Moore’s realized Jackson was a great place to raise a family. They moved their seven children to Minnesota, where he has been working, coaching and serving as a member of the community ever since. 

When Moore started his role, New Fashion Pork was in a building phase, making plans to expand further into other states apart from Minnesota and Iowa. This meant time spent writing permits, putting up new barns and complying with varying laws and regulations from state to state. Currently, New Fashion Pork spans from Minnesota and Iowa to across the Midwest including Wyoming, South Dakota, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. Operating in seven states is not an easy task. Through Moore’s work, along with longtime coworker longtime company agronomist, Sarah Withers, they have succeeded in meeting the compliance requirements with each state’s environmental regulations despite the many challenges they sometimes faced.

Being a good neighbor

When asked about impactful career moments, Moore first and foremost reflects on others – from coworkers, contract growers and neighbors in the community. 

“One thing I try to do is to be a good neighbor and be supportive of our communities. Communication is so important, when we are going to build a new farm, I will visit the area neighbors. I get so many mixed responses, but it is necessary that our neighbors have an opportunity to speak directly to us,” Moore said.

Moore works to ensure, for all involved including neighbors, that pig farmers continue making efforts to protect the land implementing sustainability practices in every way possible. Moore works on various projects including manure management plans, odor research and product development to create new tools that benefit both pig farmers and the environment.

“Jay prepares, implements and manages our manure management plans. He helps our growers and local farmers understand the nutrient value of the manure produced, utilizing every valuable aspect of swine production,” stated Brad Freking, New Fashion Pork owner. 

Helping farmers, both those who grow for New Fashion Pork and those who do not, have access to a sustainable, valuable fertilizer is crucial. What drives expansion now is acquiring farmland with a pig barn nearby for efficient fertilizer use. State of the art farming practices such as GPS guided equipment is a major benefit while applying manure. The technology is able to record exactly where manure is spread and incorporated into the soil in the fall. When spring planting begins, they can plant seed exactly where the manure was applied. Using a strategic application process not only preserves the amount of manure needed, but also reduces the possibility of surface runoff.

Odor research is especially important, and Moore has helped lead the way in finding significant and impactful solutions for the pork industry. Reducing farm odor is significant because it decreases most criticism by reducing the odor-impact on neighbors.

“It is very evident as you work alongside Jay that he is passionate about our environment and how we as swine producers handle the sacred land we have been given,” Freking noted. 

Moore had the privilege of working with John Baumgartner of Olivia, Minnesota. Moore and Baumgartner worked together to develop the Electrostatic Particulate Ionization Fence. New Fashion Pork embraced the technology, which reduces barn odor by forcing an electrical charge unto the dust particles, which are then attracted to ground surfaces. In short, the EPI system consists of the EPI unit, corona point wire and the filter fabric fence. The fence is placed 10 to 12 feet outside the barn in front of the exhaust fans. The EPI fence acts as a barrier as the EPI unit emits trillions of ions interacting with the dust particles, which will be collected onto the fence or other ground surfaces. By capturing dust particles, odor will be reduced as well.

Moore has also worked with the environmental company, Bioverse, on developing environmental products, which are used in manure storage structures to reduce odor, to reduce solids, and to stabilize nutrients values. Recognizing the balance between the value and the drawbacks of handling manure takes a team effort. Starting with the scientific aspects to the actual field applications requires a committed team. Moore reiterates that part of being a good neighbor is knowing your neighbors and being mindful of their activities. 

“Being a good neighbor is very important. We don’t apply on holidays and try our best to not apply on weekends. We don’t want to ruin someone’s Thanksgiving dinner!” Moore laughed.

Environmental management, in any capacity, is certainly not for the faint of heart. Through continual research to minimize odor, implementation of overall sustainability practices, and being the main contact for state and local regulatory agencies, Moore has successfully balanced his work and community involvement.

Moore shared, “I’ll always be available to help anybody in the industry. I have always liked the saying ‘good people find each other,’ and there are so many great people in the pork industry who are friends for life.”

Diving all in to pork industry and beyond

Being active in the industry and community are core values for Moore. He has been active with the Minnesota Pork Board and Minnesota Pork Producers Association, serving as a board member from 2009-2019. In 2016, Moore was elected as president of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association. 

While serving on the board and in his career alike, Moore worked with past Minnesota Pork CEO, Dave Preisler, who speaks to Jay’s ‘be a good neighbor’ mindset. Preisler shared, “If you have the ‘do the right thing attitude’ to drive you, it’s going to serve you really well. That is what I’ve always seen with Jay.”

Moore has held positions on state and national committees including the air quality task force and the mortality task force. In addition, he has also been a member of the Pork Chop Open committee for the past decade, a local fundraising event. Aside from the pork industry, Moore is a volunteer coach for Jackson County Central Huskies Football. His desire to give back by coaching derives from the experience and success he had as an athlete.

The importance of sharing environmental stewardship that farmers pursue continues to grow in our ever-evolving world. Moore emphasized the importance of having a tactical team approach.

“I think to have an effective environmental program in today’s pork industry, the leadership begins at the top. Having the latitude that has been provided to me with New Fashion Pork has made our job a lot easier and we have leadership that is as concerned as I am about doing things right,” Moore stated. “We are certainly not perfect, but commitment and communication with each other to do the right thing are two components that create a solid base of whatever you’re doing in life.”

It is evident Moore has paved the way for environmental stewardship and research in not only Minnesota, but the pork industry as a whole. Moore shares his gratitude for the award, recognizing those who have been alongside him throughout his career.

“This award as Environmental Steward of the Year is important and I certainly appreciate it, but my satisfaction comes from working in the pork industry with great people and that’s reward enough,” Moore said. “It certainly is appreciated to be recognized by my peers and I don’t take it lightly, but it has always been a team effort and it takes a team to get things accomplished.”

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