With their swine farm located just beyond Raleigh, N.C., John and Eileen Langdon say it’s more important than ever to adhere to their family’s legacy of environmental stewardship. “We like to share our story by being transparent about who we are,” said Eileen, who is a veterinarian as well as a pork producer. “We welcome visitors and want to educate them about what we do and how seriously we take our job.”
Hogs have been part of the Langdon farm near Benson, N.C., for more than 70 years, starting with John’s grandfather in the 1930s. Today, the Langdons and their children, including John Michael, Hunter and Megan, manage seven swine barns where they raise 20,000 finishing pigs each year.
The Langdons have incorporated the latest technology to help their animals stay healthy and comfortable during North Carolina’s hot summers.
“From a single panel, we can control curtains, chimneys, misters and feeders in a building,” says John, who adds that sensors in the barn measure the temperature that the pigs are experiencing and make necessary adjustments.
Good air quality is enhanced by flushing the buildings’ shallow manure pits four times a day with recycled lagoon water. “We want to keep the pigs healthy so we can produce a safe, wholesome product,” says Eileen, who works at a nearby veterinary clinic.
The Langdons’ swine operation also enhances the family’s 380-acre crop operation. Anaerobic lagoons help break down the swine manure, which is transferred through underground irrigation lines to crop and pasture land. The nutrients help fertilize the Bermuda grass that is consumed by the family’s 65 brood cows.
“We can produce healthy crops, pasture and cattle, and we don’t have to buy any commercial fertilizer, thanks to our swine manure,” says John, who relies on tests to ensure that proper agronomic rates are applied to crops.
Careful management has also helped wildlife flourished on the Langdon’s farm. Bluebirds, wood ducks and mallards nest around the lagoons’ edges, note John and Eileen, who have been recognized for their involvement in the local soil and water district and have been honored as “River Friendly” farmers.
“We want our grandchildren and great grandchildren to have the same opportunity to raise animals on this farm,” Eileen says. “That’s what continues to motivate us.”
John M. Langdon Farms is one of four 2011 Pork Industry Environmental Stewards.
Source: National Pork Board