Sustainability and profitability go hand-in-hand and that's been the focus of a partnership between the National Pork Board, United Soybean Board and National Corn Growers Association. Two years ago, the three organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding on a sustainability research platform that will benefit all three organizations and their producers.
Since the MOU was signed, the groups have been collaborating on sustainability goals and initiatives, as well as a feed sustainability blueprint project. This project intends to encourage on-farm and facility outcome-based goals that contribute to watershed and sustainability goals. The objective is to establish practices, definitions and standards on how to measure and track the sustainability of feed ingredients, primarily soybean meal and corn, with a focus on water quality, water quantity, climate resilience and wildlife habitat.
"America's pig farmers are committed to producing pork and reducing our environmental impact," says Brett Kaysen, vice president of sustainability. "Partnering on the feed sustainability blueprint project makes sense as our industry works toward the carbon-neutral pig."
One of the goals of the original MOU was to collaborate, better using each other's resources and expertise on these issues that impact corn, soy and pork farmers. Representatives from NPB, USB and NCGA have been working together, managing and evaluating the activities outlined in the MOU.
"It's important to collaborate, pooling our resources and expertise as checkoff organizations now more than ever," says Roger Zylstra, Iowa farmer and representative on the Corn Sustainability Advisory Group. "So much of our ongoing demand for corn in the feed sector as well as other industries are dependent on answering key sustainability questions and sharing the great progress corn has made and the great work that America's corn farmers continue to do."
The MOU is ongoing and includes the sharing of completed research, coordination on current and planned research, and defining ways to share and communicate results with each organizations' members.
Through combined communications efforts and outreach, the organizations can increase the education, capacity and motivation of pig and grain farmers to adopt conservation measures that deliver benefits to the environment and farm resilience and profitability.