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Hog Sector Taking Action on Sustainability

April 17, 2023 7:00 AM | News

The following is a sponsored advertorial on behalf of Manitoba Pork.

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Above all, farmers recognize the importance of being good stewards of the land, water, and air — their livelihoods are directly tied to the quality of the natural resources around them. To produce the food we all depend on, farmers know that sustainability and innovation must go hand in hand. Hog farmers from across our province utilize experts and technological advances to reduce their carbon and environmental footprints while ensuring that Manitoba pork is raised to the highest standard.

“We all know that both food production and agriculture have an impact on the environment,” says Tricia Schmalenberg, a professional engineer with Maple Leaf Agri-Farms. “We’re trying to do our best to reduce that impact and reduce our carbon emissions.”

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Maple Leaf Foods is one example of the hog sector taking a leadership role in reducing carbon emissions while producing pork to the highest quality standard. Maple Leaf Foods has set science-based targets for greenhouse gas emissions, aligned with the Paris Climate Accord, with a goal of further reducing its carbon emissions by 30 per cent by 2030. The Canadian pork sector is a global leader when it comes to reducing emissions. A 2017 study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations found that Canada produces far less carbon than other pork-producing parts of the world, including Europe, Latin America, and Asia.

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Today’s hog barns are an example of sustainability in action. Thanks to technological advances, lights, fans, and heating and cooling systems use significantly less energy than they once did, and electronic feeders ensure pigs are well fed while reducing the amount of wasted feed, increasing efficiency. Hog farms today require 40 percent less water, 33 percent less feed, and as much as 59 percent less land for every kilogram of pork produced compared to 50 years ago. Since 2014, Maple Leaf Foods alone has reduced its water consumption by the equivalent of about 18,000 Olympic swimming pools and taken the equivalent of 10,000 cars off the road.

Manitoba Pork

“I am really enthusiastic about the future of agriculture in Manitoba,” Schmalenberg added. “Farmers have been stewards of the land for decades, and combining sustainability initiatives with their knowledge of the land will make for a great future in agriculture.”

Manitoba hog farmers regularly invest in research, adopting new and emerging nutrient management methods, technology, and best management practices to further lessen their environmental impact. They follow stringent legislation and regulations to ensure not only the sustainability of the hog sector, but that our natural environment is preserved for future generations. This includes working with subject matter experts including environmental engineers like Tricia as well as professionals like scientists and agrologists to ensure our land and waterways are left in a better condition than they were found.

This commitment to sustainability means that Manitoba’s hog sector can provide a high-quality protein that is safe, affordable, all while reducing its environmental impact.

To learn more, visit manitobapork.com/environment

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Tags: Food | Manitoba