Roger & Renee Nath | JAC Pork

To Roger Nath, the environment encompasses everything around us — the air we breathe, the water and essential nutrients to sustain life.

“Our very existence comes from the environment,” he says.

Nath and his wife, Renee, own JAC Pork, Inc., near Hartley in northwest Iowa. Roger has farmed and worked in the pork industry for more than 40 years. The Naths finish around 3,520 hogs a year and have 700 acres of corn and soybeans on their fifth generation family farm. The operation’s name is an acronym using the first letter of each of Roger’s children’s names: Jeremy, Andrew and Christine.

The Nath’s environmental efforts earned them the 2009 Pork Industry Environmental Steward Award from the National Pork Board. The award honors producers who demonstrate a firm commitment to safeguarding the environment and their local communities.

Nath has always been in good standing with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and currently has a Tier 1 status, the highest rating assigned to a swine production facility.

Q. What water quality practices do you use on your farm? 
A. We take careful steps to reduce potential soil erosion and maintain water quality. A corn-soybean rotation uses a 100 percent no-till operation for soybeans following corn. Soybeans are no-tilled into standing corn stalks in the spring. By not repeatedly working the ground, this practice conserves soil moisture, reduces trips and our carbon footprint. A minimum tillage program is used for corn following soybeans. Our farm adjoins the Ocheyeden River so we have an NRCS-approved filter strip along the river and several water ways to slow down water and keep soil in place. Our Conservation Reserve Program land provides additional protection from erosion.

Q. Why did you voluntarily adopt these practices?
A. It’s simply the right thing to do. It’s in line with my environmental policies

Q. What, if any, assistance (financial as well as technical) did you receive to employ these practices?
A. Through my consulting and environmental protection efforts through the years, I have utilized EQIP funds and conservation tillage practices assistance.

Q. What is your environmental philosophy as it relates to your farming operation?
A. My environmental stewardship focus is on the farm land, my livestock operation and our personal lives. Having a good work ethic, being accountable and taking pride in my work results in achieving my environmental stewardship goals. It is important to me to be able to play a role in helping preserve and better our environment. Stewardship is about giving back and the love of the land and the outdoors. I hope each following generation has an opportunity to experience all that I enjoy.