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WPX: Eco Practices Project Launched to Measure Sustainability Metrics

Eco Practices, a platform launched by the National Pork Board, tracks sustainability metrics to measure progress in alignment with the UN's sustainability goals.

4 October 2021, at 12:30am

The National Pork Board recently introduced their platform Eco Practices which tracks sustainability metrics. It gathers data on environmental, economic and social practices that follow the United Nation’s sustainability practices.

Marguerite Tan and Dale Stevermer discuss the Eco Practices pilot project with The Pig Site's Sarah Mikesell at the 2021 World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa, USA.

“We want to be able to tell the story of what a great job our pork producers are doing of being environmental stewards,” said Marguerite Tan, Director of Environmental Programs for the National Pork Board. “Every day is Earth Day at our farms and we want to be able to showcase that. We wanted to provide a platform and a way that we can have third-party verification of the practices that our producers are doing to showcase those sustainability practices.”

Producers sometimes get concerned about the work necessary to provide data to other people. The process for collecting this data has become much easier because there are new and different electronic platforms that producers can use, whether it’s through a spreadsheet or different format.

“Some of the things I got back out of it, I'm showing negative carbon dioxide emissions based on my cropping practices and my manure use, which ties in with a portion of that's a significant amount of carbon sequestered per year in my soil,” said Dale Stevermer, a pork producer and participant in this pilot project. “Using some of the no-till and strip-till practices I use along with cover crops, I am actually significantly lower in soil erosion loss.”

Working with this platform is beneficial for producers because they can demonstrate improvements in their practices and measure changes that need to be made to reach their end goal. The platform allows producers to measure whether change is actively being made and actions that can be taken to further improve this data.

The pilot project has the goal of reaching sustainability not only in pork production but in the world. Having these measurements allows the producers to showcase their efforts towards sustainability and celebrate their progress.

"We are doing sustainable practices, but many producers don't realize it because it's what they do every day. But these are actually practices that help the sustainability of not just pork production, but of the world. And so that's what we want to showcase," said Tan. "In Dale's situation, for instance, he's been able to see how much carbon he is sequestering into his soil. His farm is actually acting like a forest or in being a solution to our climate change challenge."