A new carbon-footprint calculator for use by U.S. pork producers was unveiled at the 23rd annual World Pork Expo underway this week in Des Moines. The new tool will help pork producers identify areas on their farms where they may have the opportunity to reduce emission of greenhouse gases. The tool was developed by the National Pork Board with pork checkoff funds.

“The Live Swine Carbon Footprint Calculator is a tool to help producers identify and quantify the greenhouse-gas emissions at their operations based on their production profile,” says Allan Stokes, NPB’s director of environmental programs. “The calculator can be used for sow, nursery and finishing operations to aid producers in making farm-specific evaluations and decisions.”

The new carbon footprint tool calculates data based on farm location, feed use, size of barns, manure storage facility, number of animals, barn ventilation and many other variables. Information and recommendations that the calculator generates are private and only for the producer’s use. No information is shared with or accessed by NPB or others.

Feed usage represents a major portion of the carbon footprint of the pork industry and an important area for consideration. “Making sure we are not wasting feed and that we are as efficient as possible in converting feed to pork is a very important starting point to reduce your carbon footprint,” says Randy Spronk, a farrow-to-finish pork producer from Edgerton, Minn., and chairman of NPB’s environmental committee. "We want to ensure that the resources required in pork production are used as efficiently as possible, with little or no waste." 

Practices such as frequent manure removal from deep-pit storage facilities also tend to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and an operation’s carbon footprint. For facilities with open manure storage, lagoon covers offer a practical approach to reduce emissions as well as improve odor control.

To learn more about the carbon footprint calculator.

For more on pork’s carbon footprint.