Decades of Improvement

More than five decades of continuous improvement in the pork industry has led to more sustainable farms.

Over the past 50 years, pig farms have reduced their environmental impact by using12:

75.9% less land
25.1% less water
7% less energy
7.7% lower carbon emissions

Farmers are developing a number of strategies to protect and improve water quality. Evidence suggests improvements in animal and manure management can reduce the nutrient content in lagoons, as well as the amount of ammonia released into the atmosphere.

Farmers manage air quality and control odors from production facilities to minimize the impact on neighbors and the community. Overall, greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. animal agriculture have remained steady even though protein production has increased Agriculture accounts for about 9% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and pork production accounts for just 0.46%.13

Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions

0.46%

Pork production accounts for just 0.46% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions

Responsible Actions Over the Years

1989
  • Pork Quality Assurance® (PQA®) program launched
1994
  • Animal Well-being research and education initiated
1995
  • Pork Quality Audit launched
  • Environmental Assurance program launched
  • Environmental Stewards program launched
1996
  • PQA incorporates Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HAACP) regulations
2001
  • Transport Quality Assurance® program launched
2002
  • Farm biosecurity and security guides developed through industry research
  • Responsible Antibiotic Use launched
2003
  • Swine Welfare AssuranceSM program launched
2004
  • Youth Pork Quality Assurance® program launched
2005
  • Take Care: Use Antibiotics Responsibly program launched
  • Air Emissions Agreement created
  • Swine ID Plan developed
2006
  • Air Management Practices Assessment tool launched
  • Pork Production Safety System training materials developed
2007
  • National Pork Board merges education programs into expanded Pork Quality Assurance® Plus program
2008
  • We Care® commitment formalized and made public
2011
  • Carbon Footprint Calculator offered to pig farmers
2012
  • First U.S. Pork Industry Responsibility Progress Report published
2014
  • Common Swine Industry Audit launched
2018
  • Sustainability Research Alliance formed by National Pork Board, United Soybean Board, National Corn Growers Association and Environmental Defense Fund
2019
  • 55-Year Retrospective Life Cycle Assessment of U.S. Pork Production published