WESTMINSTER, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Niman Ranch, the leading natural meat brand renowned for its humanely raised products, has recognized David and Christy Borrowman of Pastvina Acres in Smithville, MO as the 2023 Sustainable Farm of the Year. This accolade honors the Borrowmans for their ongoing commitment to the principles of regenerative agriculture and sustainability.
In addition to raising their hogs outdoors and in deeply bedded hoop barns, the Borrowmans use many sustainable practices on their farm, including cover crops, no-till and diverse plantings, to build healthy soil. Through the USDA’s Conservation Stewardship Program, the Borrowmans have converted 52 acres of hilly, eroded row crop land into a wonderland of native prairie wildflowers and pollinator habitat, home to a wide variety of insect life including Monarch butterflies and honeybees. “When you’re out in the pollinator habitat, it literally buzzes with energy, and it’s not just the honeybees,” said David. “It’s all the other pollinators and birds. It’s a big part of our farm.” The Conservation Stewardship Program was first drafted by the late Dave Serfling, an early Niman Ranch hog farmer, a fact that David feels further enhances his farm’s special connection to Niman Ranch.
The Borrowmans have also reduced their reliance on synthetic fertilizers by one-third since they started farming. They credit this reduction to several factors including nutrient-rich composted manure provided by their Niman Ranch hogs, as well as new technology to replace synthetic nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers that prevents run-off, a leading contributor to water pollution and the Gulf of Mexico dead zone.
Both Borrowmans were raised in multigenerational farm families but pursued other careers after college. Following a three-year stint in Prague, Czech Republic, they returned home and began raising hogs and row crops in 2015. In 2018, they joined the Niman Ranch network, which has given them the financial security to expand their operation. In addition to raising 500 hogs every year, they also grow heirloom corn that goes to local bakeries, including Yoli Tortilleria in Kansas City, winner of the 2023 James Beard Award for Outstanding Bakery.
To David, sustainability is also an economic concept. He cites the Niman Ranch Next Generation Foundation, a non-profit that provides grants, scholarships and mentorships for young farmers. “This is part of the conversation we don’t have very often,” he said. “If you don’t have farmers able to make a living economically, you won’t have sustainable farms. You have to have people.” This past June, the Borrowmans hosted a 5K run through their wildflower meadows to raise money for the Next Generation Foundation.
“Niman Ranch couldn’t be more supportive of our sustainability practices, both economic and agriculture based. They’ve helped us take our sustainability goals up to the next level,” he said.
Chris Oliviero, Niman Ranch General Manager, said, “Niman Ranch couldn’t be more pleased to recognize the Borrowmans, a young family committed to building a sustainable farm future not only for themselves, but for others, as well. The Borrowman family shows the immense potential of combining traditional practices with cutting edge technologies to build a resilient and regenerative farm.”
The Borrowmans were selected for this award from Niman Ranch’s network of over 500 hog farm partners. The Sustainable Farm of the Year Award will be presented to the Borrowman family at the annual Niman Ranch Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner in Des Moines, IA on August 26.
Niman Ranch is a community of over 600 independent family farmers and ranchers who raise pork, beef and lamb traditionally, humanely and sustainably to deliver the Finest-Tasting Meat in the World®. Niman Ranch is the largest farmer and rancher network in North America to be Certified Humane®. The protein of choice for America’s most celebrated chefs, Niman Ranch is also the premier option for discerning home cooks looking for meats Raised with Care®, with no antibiotics or added hormones—ever. Follow Niman Ranch on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.