Project Green is in Full Force with Planting 5,541 Trees or Shrubs Over the Last Seven Months
Talk to any farmer and they will tell you 2019 was unlike any other year. The spring was wet (again), trade issues caused continued market uncertainty, the fall got cold very fast and exacerbated a propane shortage. But the summer was pretty amazing, more specifically July. July was awesome and we took full advantage of it by planting more than 2,000 trees around our new finisher farms.
An endeavor of this size deserved its own name, so we declared it Project Green with a big kickoff in the spring. But, like we said above, the spring was wet so planting efforts were delayed for more favorable skies—and ground. However, we made up for lost ground in June, July and August. In total, over seven months, we planted 5,541 trees or shrubs on 43 farms. It was a big year.
In the middle of the planting season, we took a little break to celebrate with the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers at their 15-year anniversary. During that celebration, they generously recognized the commitment we made in May 2018 to participate in the Coalition’s Green Farmstead Partner Program as part of our own Project Green. “The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers greatly appreciates Iowa Select Farms' commitment to doing things right,” said CSIF site development manager Ken Mowrer. “We at the Coalition greatly appreciate your commitment to Iowa.”
“As Green Farmstead Partners, we are committed to planting trees and shrubs around all of our new company-owned finished farms. This has been an effort that has been very exciting for us,” remarked Jen Sorenson, Communications Director at Iowa Select Farms. “The signage offered by the Coalition is beautiful and reminds all of us that we can be proud to be farmers, be proud of our farms and be proud of what we’re doing for communities and state.”
In addition to trees, we also installed an odor mitigating technology on the farms. This electrostatic fence knocks down dust particles that carry odor. Over the past two years, we have installed fences on 65 farms. According to an Iowa State University study, the fence reduces odors from farms by 31 percent.
In that same study, researchers said the installation of the fence, planting of the trees and omission of pit fans on the barns will reduce odor by 50 percent. These initiatives do not make more pigs or tastier pork, rather they are part of our Select Care commitment to be good stewards of the environment.
While we made great progress in 2019, we have more trees to plant and more fences to install. The work is not easy, the weather does not cooperate and equipment breaks sometimes. It is all part of being a farmer.