Two pork producing families are the final 2010 winners of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Good Farm Neighbor Award. The award honors livestock producers for their outstanding environmental stewardship and animal care.

Scott and Michelle Hislop operate Choice Connection, a 143-year-old family farm outside Mapleton, Minn. Scott Hislop says good farm practices will ensure a viable pork operation for the sixth generation of his family. “I’m very proud of the people we have working with us – they take care of our animals and provide for them in the best way possible,” he said.

Hislop says about 15 years ago public scrutiny of their manure-management practices created a negative perception of his farm. New management practices and equipment now allow for precise application of organic liquid fertilizer and better distribution of it into the soil, resulting in reduced evaporation and odors.

“Our farming practices have changed as we have identified things in the industry that are more proactive and environmentally friendly,” said Hislop. “We can now pride ourselves that we face livestock industry issues head-on.”

A rural Alden, Minn., couple, Jim and Brenda Cords, started farming in Freeborn County in 1987. They have made several upgrades to their operation, including rebuilding after suffering severe tornado damage last June. They now have about 5,500 nursery pigs and two finishing barns. They also farm 1,200 acres of land with the help of their two sons.

The Cords have completed the Quality Assurance Program offered through the National Pork Board. Brenda Cords says they work hard to produce the best pork products for consumers and to be mindful of their impact on their neighborhood.

“Jim and I work very hard to be responsible and considerate. That’s important because we want to leave our farm in good shape for our children and our children’s children,” she said.

Winners of MDA’s Good Farm Neighbor Award are selected by a committee representing the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and the MDA.

Source: MDA