The Recipe Behind The Recipe
A Tradition of Quality: Natural, Family-Farmed Pork for 100+ Years
Salmon Creek Farms Natural Pork
Certified Sustainable Program
The Salmon Creek Farms Natural Pork project was conceived and initiated 20 years ago. We have a unique “value chain” creating a sustainable model that engages family farms, a single processor, and select distributors in a transparent USDA Process Verified and 100% traceable pork production system. The process is 3rd party audited and measurable.
Our Certified Sustainable Program addresses the People, Animals, and Environment. It establishes sustainability standards and goals. The program is measured by our unique audit process and rewards constant and consistent improvement.
The "Salmon Creek Farms" Natural Pork story begins with our Partner Farmers. All are generational family farms where the owners live on the land, where wheat and barley feed is raised along with our next generation of farmers. The high mountain valleys of the Rockies provide the perfect climate to raise quality feed grains. The unique combination of fresh air, pure water, low humidity, and farm isolation creates the perfect environment to raise healthy livestock.
Salmon Creek Marketing Association was formed as a Not-For-Profit Corporation to bridge the relationship between the Partner Farmers, Independent Meat and our Customer. The primary mission has been to monitor and enforce standards of production as well as coordinate on-going meat quality and performance improvement thru education. The association goal, from day one, has been sustainability. Focusing on the three pillars of sustainability: (1) Environmentally Sound Practices; (2) Social Responsibility; and (3) Economic Viability, all farms are audited, measured and certified as models of sustainability.
Our system supports over 300 individual farming families. Our farmers and their families are our greatest resources and the Salmon Creek Farms Natural Pork program was developed to help them sustain and preserve the family farming way of life for future generations. All our farms are diversified, growing wheat, barley, and pulse crops. They also raise a variety of livestock, including pigs, cattle, chicken, ducks, and turkeys. This diversification helps protect farmers from market volatility that could be economically devastating. Economic incentives built into their agreements help all our farmers maintain a viable business model and pass their farming way of life on to the next generation. You can feel confident that your purchase directly supports family farms.
Healthy, inspired people create delicious and nutritious foods. Our annual training consists of two jam-packed days of education on meat quality, sustainability practices, consumer concerns, animal welfare, food safety, and personal health and wellness.
We take pride in giving our customers some of the healthiest, best-tasting pork available today. We never use preservatives, chemicals, additives or added moisture in our fresh pork products. Many of our products are customer-specific and unique compared to commodity pork operations providing our customers and end-consumers with a unique dining experience. We measure meat quality to assess farm performance and to provide feedback to the farmers for continuous improvement. This helps us assure you receive only the highest quality pork.
We support various community events by donating product, personnel and time to various organizations and events in the Magic Valley and our farming communities. Additionally, Independent Meat Company focuses on the health of its community members by sponsoring a local running group call Team Weenie with over 200 members. We are proud to call our communities home and look forward to continued contributions to the wonderful people and organizations in our hometowns.
Animals contribute to the health and nutrition of billions of people around the globe. Our family farms use traditional, conventional, and proven breeds of hogs to produce a high quality and highly consistent end product that tastes delicious. All of Salmon Creek Farm’s producers use only our lines of Duroc boars and “white-line” (Landrace, Chester White, Yorkshire cross) sows to produce our pigs. Durocs are known for their superior growth and meat quality, the “white line” sows tend to raise strong, healthy litters of pigs. Hogs are fed high quality western wheat and barley, much of which is grown on the family-farms where the pigs are raised. Salmon Creek Farms never uses hormone-like growth promotants, such as Ractopamine.
Good animal welfare practices increase productivity. All our farms are required to participate in training courses for those handling animals and this has long-lasting results in how they care for the animals and a big impact on the farms.
Antibiotic stewardship is extremely important to keep antibiotics working for all of us. We eliminated the use of antibiotics for the purpose of growth promotion over 15 years ago and we continue to look for opportunities to further reduce their use. We work closely with veterinarians to promote good digestive system health in all our pigs and we follow strict biosecurity protocols to reduce the risk of introducing health challenges to our animals.
Continuous improvement is not limited to health and quality; it extends into farm design and management practice as well. By pooling resources we have incorporated an ongoing, mandatory, education component in the program. Each year, following grain harvest, our farmers are gathered for Symposium, 3-days of education and technical training. In the Spring, after planting, our "Refresher Course" is taken to the farms. These programs teach not only "best practices" for the farm operation but include consumer awareness and customer interface.
All farms are participants in the Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA® Plus) program. This mandatory assessment establishes a baseline for management and facility goals to maximize animal comfort and care. As farm facilities are renovated and built new, industry developments and consumer driven practices are being adopted. Such improvements such as controlled air conditioning ventilation, nutrient capture and recycling, and group & open gestation are being implemented across our production base.
We are committed to protecting the world around us and our abundant natural resources. Our farmers believe that protecting the soil is critical to reducing agricultural inputs – herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. Pulse crops, legumes, are grown on all our farms. They are a nutritious addition to diets around the world and are important to ending world hunger. Pulse crops also promote biodiversity and soil health. The farmers work cooperatively with the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRSC) to manage waste from their facilities, thus reducing the need for commercial fertilization. The farms send soil samples to NRCS for evaluation allowing the farmers to determine the most beneficial application rate of bio-fertilizer. Underground and surface water resources are separated and protected from rain run-off through proper facility site positioning and approved procedures.
Water conservation measures are in place on all our farms and water use is continuously measured and assessed for opportunities to improve conservation. Electricity use is being monitored and reduced on all farms. Timers for lights are utilized throughout the barns.
For over 100 years, Independent Meat Company, the processor, has been providing jobs to the local economy and providing a market to pork producers in remote areas of the northwest. The company’s philosophy has always been to utilize as much of the available protein as possible therefore eliminating any unnecessary waste. In the mid 1980’s the company built an onsite rendering facility to utilize the
non-edible waste produced in the slaughter process. We now render 100% of the porcine byproducts to utilize all the available protein as a sustainable feed source for local dairy producers. All cardboard waste is kept out of landfills by our 100% cardboard recycling program. In the last five years, we have reduced our landfill usage by 25% thanks to our recycling initiatives and by utilizing strategic packaging materials. In fact, our landfill usage is less than 1% of our annual production output on a tonnage basis. Our waste treatment system is effective at removing solids without the use of chemicals or mechanical separation. Additionally, we have streamlined our delivery routes and added more fuel efficient, lower emission vehicles to our delivery fleet.
There is a strong bond between people and where their food comes from. We believe the connection to the farmers growing the food is more important than ever. Our Certified Sustainable Salmon Creek Farms Natural Pork is raised in ways that consider the long-term vitality of the farms and people involved, the well-being of the animals, and the preservation of the land.
We love sharing our sustainability story with our customers. If you have questions, please contact us. We'd love to talk to you!