100 1% Solutions for Pork Producers

By the Pork Checkoff Report

More and more, pork producers are being second-guessed by non-farmers about production practices. Whether it is environmental issues, animal welfare issues, food safety issues or just being a good neighbor, there is a growing gap between producers and the communities they live and work in.

Many producers, frustrated by this reality, are seeking a silver bullet to fix all the problems and make them all go away.  That won’t happen. While the state and national organizations continue to work on behalf of producers, it is up to farmers to help solve the perception issues that persist. There may not be any one 100% solution, but there are certainly one hundred 1% solutions that can help turn the tide.

You don’t have to be a professional presenter or a lobbyist to make a difference. We encourage every pork producer to pick a handful of ideas from this list and implement them this year. If everyone does their part, we can turn the tide and regain public acceptance and embracing of pork production in Nebraska.

  1. Know each of your neighbors by name.
  2. Give a neighbor a tour of your farm.
  3. Bring a neighbor a ham for the holidays.
  4. Invite a neighbor to your house for dinner.
  5. Create a flyer describing your operation and distribute it to neighbors.
  6. Call the people near your land application areas to find out if they are scheduling any activities for the day(s) you want to spread manure.
  7. Be aware and respectful of any other local activities scheduled for the days you plan to spread manure.
  8. Explain to your neighbors what you plan on doing before applying for a permit, and answer any questions or concerns they may have.
  9. Volunteer at the local humane shelter.
  10. Sponsor a local school team.
  11. Participate in the adopt-a-highway program.
  12. Become a Certified Livestock Producer.
  13. Create a quarterly newsletter to distribute to neighbors, friends about your operation, recipes, etc.
  14. Meet a legislator for lunch in your hometown.
  15. Invite a legislator on a tour of your facilities.
  16. Become an Operation Main Street presenter.
  17. Have your employees join you in a volunteer effort in your community (ie. Habitat for Humanity).
  18. Do a “lunch and learn” presentation for neighbors and local business leaders on your farm.
  19. Provide the dinner for a local event.
  20. Participate in the Million Meals program.
  21. Offer a grilling class on your farm and invite the community.
  22. Become a Big Brother or Big Sister.
  23. Participate in the NPB’s Environmental Stewardship Program.
  24. Participate in an editorial meeting with your local newspaper about pork production.
  25. Write a letter to the editor.
  26. Set up a Facebook/Twitter account and use it to talk about your farm.
  27. Create a blog about pork or farming.
  28. Offer to speak at a local school about what you do.
  29. Create a pork recipe guide from your family for the community.
  30. Sponsor a school project.
  31. Write a letter to your legislator about pending legislation.
  32. Contribute to your local legislator’s political campaign.
  33. Volunteer on a political campaign.
  34. Offer your services to your local legislator or Congressman as a go-to person for agriculture questions.
  35. Offer your services to your local media as a go-to person for agriculture questions.
  36. Join the Nebraska Pork Talk magazine mailing list to keep up to date on current issues.
  37. Maintain an animal welfare standard of practice and discipline any employees who don’t apply the standard.
  38. Review the ethical principles of the pork industry with your employees and have them sign a document to adhere to these principles.
  39. Display the Nebraska Pork Ethical Principles poster in your facility.
  40. Run for public office.
  41. Actively participate in the NPPC LEADR program.
  42. Offer to plow snow from your neighbor’s driveway.
  43. Talk to your elementary school teachers about using the NPB Educational Material.
  44. Offer your farm as a destination for a school field trip.
  45. You are a community business owner:  become a Rotarian
  46. Know your financial contribution to the local community.
  47. Arrange with your local grocer for you to be available to answer questions about pork at the meat counter one weekday morning.
  48. Give a presentation at your local library about what you do.
  49. Be sure you are PQA+ certified and site assessed.
  50. Make your IDEM records available for the neighbors to see.
  51. Host a neighborhood picnic at your farm.
  52. At a minimum, keep the street-facing part of your operation clean and well groomed at all times.
  53. Recognize bad practices in your operation and change them.
  54. Become a leader of your local 4-H chapter.
  55. If you live near an urban area, invite city kids for a day on the farm.
  56. Support your state pork association through participating in events or even serving on the Board of Directors.
  57. Send Thanksgiving cards to your neighbors.
  58. Keep track of the opposition.  Read books and articles by those who disagree with your way of thinking.
  59. Avoid applying manure on frozen ground.
  60. Have a county commissioner that’s not friendly to ag?  Take him to lunch.
  61. Look into biofilters
  62. Consider participating in a local farmer’s market.
  63. Hold a tailgate party/hog roast during a Husker game.
  64. Attend local meetings in support of other livestock and/or grain producers who might be trying to put up a new operation while facing local opposition.
  65. Farm wives get involved in ‘mommy blogging’, local ladies groups and school groups such as the PTA.
  66. Donate to your local food bank, shelter or soup kitchen.
  67. Participate in online discussions like #agchat to share your views on agriculture.
  68. When attending public events dress appropriately and professionally.
  69. Be diligent with biosecurity.
  70. Be extra cautious in hiring/firing practices.
  71. Avoid manure spills and lagoon overflows at all costs.
  72. Do more than is required in PQA+, CLPP, IDEM permitting = raise the standard.
  73. Offer to help pay for road damage caused by equipment
  74. Consult with neighbors when running noisy equipment late at night.
  75. Consider how your operation will be affected when casting your votes on a local, state, and national level.
  76. Install webcams in your barn and broadcast your production practices on the internet.
  77. Help encourage collaborative efforts among all ag sectors locally to bring the fight to opponents (HSUS, Pew Commission, etc.)
  78. People “smell with their eyes”:  Consider this when siting.
  79. Plant a row of trees
  80. Know your county commissioners
  81. Make sure other pork producers in your area aren’t giving you all a bad name.
  82. Check freeboard even when you KNOW it’s fine.
  83. Dot I’s and cross T’s:  even minor paperwork violations with IDEM still look like violations to our opposition.
  84. Businesses helping Businesses:  Hire a local landscaping company to mow the yard at your facility.
  85. Knife it in.
  86. Educate your county board of health.
  87. Remember that the definition of “neighbor” also includes those who live around all land application areas… not just those who live around your barns.
  88. Green metal roofs blend into the surroundings.
  89. Try to avoid manure on the road.
  90. Check drainage tiles.
  91. Scrutinize your mortality management.
  92. Become TQA certified. TQA is about animal handling:  it’s not just for truckers.
  93. Offer to visit a high school and/or college course to talk about entrepreneurship.
  94. Visit a farmer’s market and speak to small, niche farmers.  Take into consideration their point of view and share with them a little about what you do each day.
  95. Involve your children in the farm.  Instill the pride in them that you enjoy.  They can be your biggest advocates!
  96. Join civic groups and business networking organizations.  Engage yourself with your local business community.
  97. Be involved with your county Farm Bureau.  They can help keep you in the loop on local issues before they become big problems.
  98. The State Department of Agriculture deals with many local regulatory issues.  If you are having a problem in your community, give them a call.
  99. Remember to communicate some of these ideas to your employees and family; they are the ambassadors of your operation.
  100.  Share this document with other pork producers.

For more information on how to help the industry, contact:

Nebraska Pork Producers Association

PO Box 830909

Lincoln, NE 68583-0909

(888) 627-7675



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