National Environmental Steward Award Recipients Named: Iowa Pork Producer Recognized

10-09-2014 in Green Farmstead Partner

The Pork Checkoff, along with its cosponsor, National Hog Farmer magazine, has named the recipients of the 2014 Pork Industry Environmental Stewards. The award, now in its 20th year, recognizes producers who are dedicated to safeguarding the environment and contributing to their local communities.

Bruce and Jenny Wessling, who farm near Grand Junction, Iowa, were one of the two families honored with the national award.

The applicants’ farms were evaluated based on their manure management systems, water and soil conservation practices, odor-control strategies, farm aesthetics and neighbor relations, and wildlife habitat promotion. The applicants also authored an essay on the importance of environmental stewardship on their farm and how they implement innovative ideas to create tangible actions to safeguard and protect the environment.

The Wesslings were the first family to be involved with the Green Farmstead Partner program. Their hog site features a four-row windbreak that includes hybrid willows, cedar and evergreen trees and redtwig dogwoods. The trees help improve the eye appeal of the site and relationships with neighbors, while also helping reduce odor and control wind and snow.

Additionally, the family was recognized as the recipients of the October 2012 Wergin Good Farm Neighbor award. Neighbors Steve and Patty Fisher and Scott and Sheila Hebenstreit nominated the Wesslings. “The Wesslings go above and beyond in taking care of the ground they farm… (and) they spend countless hours caring for their hogs and managing their farm with the highest of detail,” Steve Fisher said.

“The 2014 Stewards clearly understand the comprehensive approach that producers need to take in raising pigs today,” said Lynn Harrison, chair of the Environmental Stewards selection subcommittee and former president of the National Pork Board. “These farms clearly show how bright ideas can become innovative solutions.”

The Wesslings will be recognized at the 2015 National Pork Industry Forum next March in San Antonio, Texas. A video featuring their farm can be viewed at www.pork.org.

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