Pork With Purpose: Minnesota couple demonstrates how innovation and tradition can coexist in pig farming
Finding the balance between innovation and tradition can be difficult. However, this next farm has proved that both can coexist. The Pork Checkoff takes us to Trails End Farm in Minnesota.
In a world of ever-evolving technology and increased environmental consciousness, Trails End Farm has balanced respect for tradition with a passion for innovation. Owned by Dale and Lori Stevermer, the Minnesota farm is a testament to five generations of stewardship and dedication to sustainable agriculture.
At the heart of the Stevermers’ pride is their pork production operation. Every step is taken with utmost care and respect, ensuring that the pork produced on their farm is of the highest quality.
“I’ve been very proud of being a pig farmer because I produce a clean, wholesome portion of protein for people to enjoy, and it’s my duty to make sure that it is safe and comes to them in a respectful manner,” said Dale Stevermer.
Trail’s End Farm grows about 450 acres of corn and soybeans. They plant cover crops on 90 percent of these acres between harvest and planting which protects against soil erosion and recycles nutrients for cash crops. Additionally, Trail’s End Farm raises an average of 4,000 pigs each year, with about 2,000 pigs in finishing barns at any time.
The Stevermers recognize the value of innovation and build on the practices started by generations before them. Adopting new practices does not go without challenges. To navigate these challenges, they participate in the Pork Cares Farm Impact Report program. By leveraging this report, they have been able to evaluate their return on investment before they implement new technologies and practices.
The results? Enhanced farm productivity, better care for pigs, less impact on the environment and long-term financial viability for their farm business.
“So, if my grandparents or Dale’s grandparents were to look at the farm today, they would feel proud,” Lori Stevermer said. “I think they would be amazed by the technology that we use. I think they would also be looking to the future, too, and I think that’s part of the spirit that’s in us, to always leave it in a good spot for the next generation.”
Lori and Dale have been married for more than 30 years! They first met when Lori worked in feed sales and paid Trails End Farm a visit. The farmer she first met asked if she would be willing to speak with his son instead...and that son ended up being Dale.