Ohio hog producers win national award while working to protect water quality

Krikke Pork, owned by Howard and Jane Krikke of Greenwich, Ohio, has been selected as a 2013 Pork Industry Environmental Stewards award winner, for their ongoing work to protect water quality and other natural resources on and near their farm.

“Being good stewards of the environment is a requirement for farming,” said Howard Krikke. “If we don’t take care of the land and the water it won’t take care of us.”

For the Krikke family, taking good care of the land and water is top priority. Since 2006, Krikke Pork has been home to two, state-of-the-art, 2,500-head wean-to-finish barns.

When constructing the barns, the Krikkes installed a system that allows them to collect all of the rainwater run-off from the barn roofs. The rainwater is directed above ground through grassed waterways or below ground through tile to a natural water recharge facility. Under normal Ohio precipitation, Krikke Pork returns 160% of the water used in their barns back to the groundwater supply.

The Krikkes worked with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to develop a comprehensive nutrient management plan. This plan guides how they apply manure from the barns to their fields ensuring proper use of the nutrients by crops. Manure is collected in deep self-contained pits under each barn. Use of these pits eliminates the opportunity for nutrients to leach into the groundwater.

Before applying manure to the fields, the Krikkes sample the manure to evaluate the nutrients and determine application rates for their fields. All the manure is custom applied utilizing innovative application methods to drastically reduce the opportunity for manure to contaminate the groundwater. The Krikkes monitor the groundwater during manure applications and immediately after.

“One of our principal values is that the land is going to outlast us,” Howard said. “Our goal is to make the land better than when we came here, so future generations also will be able to produce food and fiber.”

Now in its 19th year, the Environmental Stewards award recognizes pig farmers who demonstrate a firm commitment to safeguarding the environment and their local communities. Four winners, from across the nation, were chosen this year based on their water and soil conservation practices, manure management systems, odor control

strategies, farm aesthetics, neighbor relations, wildlife habitat promotion and innovative ideas used to protect the environment. The judges represented farmers and environmental organizations.

To take a video tour of the 2013 Environmental Stewards’ farms, visit http://video.pork.org/.

 

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