Improvements in swine production have led to a significantly more sustainable pig production sector in the U.S. The National Pork Board defines sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own need.” But sustainability is more multidimensional than the surrounding natural environment. Proper facilities allow pigs to spend more energy on growth and development and less on energy and thermoregulation.

Good facility management, including intentional lighting and electric features all shape sustainability by reducing energy, feed and water usage. A 2015 study of Midwest swine facilities reported that per-head energy usage was 11.6-kilowatt hour (kWh) per weaned pig in farrowing, and 2.2 kWh per nursery pig. Modern, energy-efficient heat lamps with thermostats to decrease temperature as piglets grow can reduce electricity consumption by 20%. Heat mats can reduce energy by 32% – 37%. Optimizing resources with proper feeder and drinker settings can reduce waste by approximately 3%, as well.

Read more on sustainability in pig production here.