Pork Checkoff provides producers with personalized sustainability reports

The Pork Cares Farm Impact Report program is providing pork producers with sustainability reports of their operations and creating a national sustainability report for the swine industry.

Pink feeder pigs are in a barn with slatted floors.
The Pork Cares Farm Impact Report program by the Pork Checkoff is designed to help pork producers document sustainability on their swine operations.
Erin Ehnle Brown / Grand Vale Creative LLC

Sustainability is a big topic across the agricultural industry, and pork producers have the chance to document their sustainability through the Pork Cares Farm Impact Report program by the Pork Checkoff.

The program helps producers collect data from their operations and create a sustainability report specifically for them.

“They will get a fairly simple, easy to understand, two-page report that they can share with anybody,” said Ashley McDonald, assistant vice president of sustainability for the National Pork Board.

The reports show the conservation practices on the operation, manure application and savings, soil conditioning index, environmental outcomes, management practice impacts and erosion average. The reports also include a Sustainable Continuous Improvement Plan, that recommends ways for the producer to improve their operation’s sustainability.

“So, there’s a lot of what we hope is a lot of value for a producer, for not a whole lot of burden,” said McDonald. “So, while they are being bombarded with everything else, they can pull this together and then that can allow them to have a basis for the conversations.”


“They can use that information, whether it be in-farm practices, in-barn practices, or whether agronomic practices that they might want to consider involving or increasing,” said Ryan Samuel, assistant professor and extension swine specialist at South Dakota State University.

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Understanding the full footprint of your operation can help producers better understand and market their product.
Contributed photo

The information can also benefit producer’s future endeavors, such as entering the carbon market.

“If you’ve got sort of a base line you can start with, this report gives you that basis and then you can, if you are on those carbon trading markets, then you can have this information to capture what it is you are doing and then where you are going and potential changes in those carbon trading markets,” said Samuel.

The Pork Checkoff also combines the national information and releases a yearly report to be used on an industry-wide level.

“At the industry level, we can use it to tell the industry’s story of progress and really doing what is right for people, pigs and the planet,” said McDonald.

However, each farms specific data is kept confidential.

“This is still your data,” said McDonald. “We are trying to offer a service and a value to producers to be able to easily pull it together in one place so that they have something that they can utilize.”

If you are interested in participating in the program, promotoers say the process is simple.


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This is the information required from producers to create the sustainability reports.
Pork Checkoff

“Usually, the first contact could be about an hour and then it might take a little while for you to pull everything together, then there’s usually a follow up that might take a couple hours to go through those individual data capture points,” said Samuel.

The time investment is little compared to the expected outcome of utilizing such a report.

“To capture that information and give us some benchmarks to then move forward, so what are some of the practices we can involve and increase use of, what are some things that we could change, some practices we could change, so the idea right now is to get us in that benchmarking base line of other information and then give us a scope forward of things we could look at,” said Samuel.

Pork producers, no matter the size of their operation, can apply for their own Pork Cares Farm Impact Report at any time. The cost of the program is covered by the Pork Checkoff.

Ariana is a reporter for Agweek based out of South Dakota. She graduated from South Dakota State University in 2022 with a double major in Agricultural Communications and Journalism, with a minor in Animal Science. She is currently a graduate student at SDSU, working towards her Masters of Mass Communications degree. She enjoys reporting on all things agriculture and sharing the stories that matter to both the producers and the consumers.

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