Last month tech-giant Google announced that it was expanding its plan to construct a data center in northwest Omaha, Nebraska (USA) from 270 acres to 460 acres. If you are not familiar with Omaha, the area is home to just over 1 million people (including my family) and like many agricultural communities, it’s experiencing urban sprawl. Tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon are purchasing farmland to build giant data and distribution centers—land that once produced corn and soybeans to feed the pigs, cattle, and chickens raised in the rolling hills of eastern Nebraska.
Now, don’t misunderstand, I’m not anti-development. These giant companies bring thousands of jobs and help diversify labor opportunities in communities like Omaha that otherwise may wither and die. However, I can’t help but wonder how taking decent producing farmland out of the food production system will ultimately impact global food supply—500 acres here and 500 acres there add up pretty quickly.
Can this trend be stopped? Probably not. Which is why all of us in the ag community—including pork production—need to look for more sustainable and efficient ways to produce more meat for a growing population with fewer resources and farmland.
As a company, we make significant investments to ensure our products are not only built to last (there are Crystal Spring stainless steel feeders that have been in barns feeding pigs for over 25 years!) but that they support sustainable practices in pork production.
A couple of years ago, we joined Pipestone Applied Research to measure how much water savings our Wet/Dry Feeders provided compared to our conventional Dry Feeders. The results were an astonishing 54% savings in water disappearance without negatively impacting critical Key Performance Indexes (KPIs).
This data is important because it proves basic equipment like feeders can be engineered to improve sustainability by reducing overall water used in pork production.
This consideration for improved sustainability goes even further when considering the impact on the overall carbon emissions in pork production. The United Nations, in its Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model (GLEAM), measures carbon emission rates for each livestock supply chain per kilogram of meat produced. It also assesses the carbon emissions that result from four main livestock processes: enteric fermentation, manure management, feed production, and energy consumption.
While pork production does not have as high emissions intensity as other livestock production (including beef, dairy, and sheep/goats), the UN still reports there is potential for emission mitigation across all livestock supply chains—their goal is to reduce emissions by around 33% and pork production is included in that reduction plan.
According to the studies done by Overvatorio Porcino and the University of Lleida, feed impacts 45% of the overall emissions in pork production.
This reduction in carbon emission is extremely significant when you consider that we are producing more food with less resources—like farmland and water—in order to feed a growing world population.
It will take a commitment from all of us in the farming industry, especially pig farming, as it drives us to ask hard questions, challenge our way of thinking, and continue to innovate more sustainable products and practices.
Want to know more about how our wet/dry feeders can help you improve your sustainability and reduce carbon emissions? Contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org, WhatsApp/Phone +1 (402) 227-8228 or visit our website at www.crystalspring.com to find your local authorized dealer or get detailed information about our product line.