Environmental footprint of pig production in Canada

Team:

Project Leader: Mario Tenuta, Applied Soil Ecology, University of Manitoba Email: Mario.Tenuta@umanitoba.ca

Co-Investigators: Laurie Connor, Martin Nyachoti, Qiang Zhang, Derek Brewin, Martin Entz, Christine Rawluk, University of Manitoba Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, and Shabtai Bittman, Roland Kroebel, Bernard Goyette, Candido Pomar, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Project summary

Project Goal:

This project will determine the current environmental footprint of producing pigs in Canada as well as changes in production practices resulting in footprint improvements over time. Investigation into the current footprint will establish a benchmark against which to measure the success of further environmental impact reductions strategies over time.

This research will feature a national pig production practices survey, a life cycle analysis, as well as on-farm case studies in Manitoba to identify the types of operations and management practices that have a more favourable footprint.

The results of this project will be communicated to producers, industry stakeholders, the scientific community, as well as the general public.

Why is this research important?

Public scrutiny and regulatory action specific to the environmental risk associated with livestock production, including pigs, has been increasing in recent years. Consumers are more concerned about and interested in the environmental impact of their food choices. These changes in preferences are reflected in retailer and restaurant marketing and supply sourcing decisions, and in trade agreements.

Canada’s pork industry has the potential to more fully capture both domestic and export market growth opportunities if the industry as a whole responds to these emerging trends in a timely and comprehensive manner that resonates with Canadians and our trading partners. Documenting improvements in the environmental footprint of pig production and the practices responsible for these changes is an important component of this response.

Funding:

This project is part of the Swine Cluster 3: Innovating for a Stronger Pork Sector research program, which is led by Swine Innovation Porc and funded by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, provincial pork producer organizations and industry partners. Additional matching funding provided by Manitoba Pork