New EPA research into hog facilities shows over the past decade the amount of manure and air emissions per animal are down 18 percent.
Many of those gains are thanks to feed efficiency helped by improved feed formulations, genetics and management.
One South Dakota producer shows it doesn’t take big adjustments or investments to make a big difference.
The reason Greenway Pork in Mitchell, S.D., stands today is partly due to longevity. However, it’s also tweaks over time that go a long way.
"I guess my feeling on conservation and sustainability is [how] it's a journey,” says Brad Greenway, owner of Greenway Pork. “I don't think we are ever going to get to the end.”
It begins with family and work family who have the same beliefs as owners Brad and Peggy Greenway.
“It’s every day trying to do a continuous improvement,” Greenway says. “What can we do better today than what we did yesterday?”
Greenway says little changes on the farm are making a big environmental and financial difference. He has climate-controlled barns, a plus with the constant changing weather in South Dakota.
Sure, it may be common in modern barns but it's one adjustment to pig productivity that helps the overall operation.
"If you can do everything right, the comfort of the pig can go a long ways into efficiencies and conservations and natural resources,” Greenway says.
“The Greenways also found a way to use water more efficiently. They made a change to their watering system after they found they were wasting this important resource.
“Every gallon of water that’s wasted into the pit cost us more money when we haul that out into our fields,” Greenway says.
The Greenways invested in their own feed mill. They also purchased a triple roller to make feed finer. It gets the corn down to the right particle size for feed consistency, ultimately helping the Greenway’s pocketbooks, too.
“He’ll say let's back that down and put more DDGs in there or a little more corn because it's cheaper,” says Thomas Smith, an employee with Greenway Pork. “We can make those changes on a day-to-day basis."
It also succeeds from those treated like family, as each person does their part to help the operation thrive and succeed.
“I think to just continually do a better job with every acre we have and every animal we take care of, to just do the very best job we can,” Greenway says.