Throughout history, U.S. pork producers have worked steadily to improve the industry. From the way they treat their animals to the products they provide for consumers, pork producers are doing the right thing. In an effort to highlight a history of continuous improvement and responsible practices, the industry is releasing its 2012 Pork Industry Progress Report, 'Responsible Farming. Our Heritage. Our Future.'
To view the complete report, click here or visit pork.org - News.
"Principles guide pork producers' actions on a daily basis, and the six ‘We Care’ ethical principles (listed below) emphasize what producers have been doing for years," says Chris Novak, National Pork Board CEO. "Implementation of programs over the years, including the Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus), Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) and Environmental Stewards programs, display pork producers' commitment to providing safe, high-quality products for consumers."
Farmers are absolutely committed to protecting food safety. In the past five years, pork producers have invested more than $1.3 million in research to support issues associated with pork safety. Through national leadership, farmers are partnering with the scientific community, governmental agencies and food chain partners in the development of sound programs and policies to advance food safety. The PQA Plus and Swine Identification programs are examples of processes developed to advance good production practices and food safety throughout the pork-supply chain.
PQA Plus individual certifications reached an all-time high of more than 55,000 this year, and PQA Plus site assessments were conducted on more than 16,000 U.S. farms. TQA individual certifications also reached an all-time high of 29,000. These programs are in place to help ensure that farm workers are promoting animal well-being in all their production practices.
Because pork producers are responsible for providing safe, high-quality products, a formal process for identifying and tracing pigs in interstate commerce and from the farm to the point they enter harvest channels is in place to protect public health. Farmers and facilities are required to make these records available to animal health officials when necessary.
Farmers have made significant improvements over the years to safeguard natural resources. Data from a 50-year study (1959 to 2009) revealed that productivity gains in pork production went hand in hand with decreases in environmental impacts. Factors affecting pork's footprint at the farm level were included in the research model, including feed, water, energy, land and crop nutrient resources. And the results, calculated on a per-pound-of-carcass-weight basis, showed that water use was reduced 41 percent, land use was reduced 78 percent and the carbon footprint was reduced 35 percent.*