Pork producers have a long-standing record of conscientious environmental stewardship. In an effort to publicly recognize this commitment to managing their pork production systems in harmony with our environmental resources, National Hog Farmer and the National Pork Board have joined forces in developing a program to recognize those who have built exemplary environmental management programs.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Environmental Stewards of the Pork Industry recognition program. In those years, this program has allowed us to showcase pork producers who are doing an outstanding job of adopting state-of-the-art environmental and nutrient management practices. In doing so, the pork industry has gained a greater public awareness and appreciation for pork producers' environmental ethics. Additionally, this program has allowed us to reinforce to the nation's policymakers and the general news media the conscientious role pork producers play in guarding our valuable natural resources.

Areas of Evaluation

Nominations are now open for the class of 2004 Environmental Stewards. A national selection committee comprised of pork producers and experts from various disciplines, including agricultural engineering, natural resources, environmental management and others, will review all nominations. The operations will be evaluated in eight areas: general production and background; manure nutrient management; soil conservation practices; odor control technologies and management strategies; farm aesthetics and neighbor relations; wildlife habitat; adoption of innovative ideas; and a short essay describing their view of environmental stewardship.

Nominations Open to All

This recognition program is open to production systems of all types and sizes. Since 1995, winners have represented family owned and operated farms, management teams working within an integrated system and contract producers.

Individual producers, Extension agents, veterinarians or others may submit nominations. A nomination should be focused on a single production site, outlining the owner's and/or manager's diligence and expertise in applying their environmental management program. Each of four regional winners will receive a special plaque, an expense-paid trip to the awards ceremony and a $1,000 cash honorarium. In addition, each steward's farm will be featured in a special report published in the September issue of National Hog Farmer.

Additional information and an easy-to-use nomination form is available on the sponsors' Web sites: www.nationalhogfarmer.com or www.porkboard.org. Click on the Environmental Stewards banner. Or, request nomination forms by calling Cindy Cunningham, National Pork Board, (800) 456-7675, or Dale Miller, National Hog Farmer, (800) 722-5334. Send nominations to: National Pork Board, Attention: Environmental Stewards, P.O. Box 9114, Des Moines, IA 50306-9620. Nominations must be postmarked by March 31, 2004.