WESTMINSTER, COLO. — Niman Ranch, a premium meats brand and subsidiary of Perdue Farms, recognized David and Christy Borrowman of Pastvina Acres in Smithville, Mo., as the company’s 2023 Sustainable Farm of the Year.
Niman chose the family farm for the honor due to their focus and commitment to practicing regenerative agriculture.
“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,” said Chris Oliviero, general manager of Niman Ranch. “The Borrowman family shows the immense potential of combining traditional practices with cutting edge technologies to build a resilient and regenerative farm.”
The Borrowmans deploy sustainable practices at their farm, including cover crops, no-till and diverse plantings to promote healthy soil.
Using a Conservation Stewardship Program from the US Department of Agriculture, the Borrowmans recently converted 52 acres of hilly, eroded row crop land into a native prairie of wildflowers and a pollinator habitat.
“When you’re out in the pollinator habitat, it literally buzzes with energy, and it’s not just the honeybees,” David said. “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, who was an early Niman Ranch hog farmer, a fact that David feels further increases his farm’s special connection to Niman Ranch.
Other sustainable elements of the Borrowmans farm include the reduction of synthetic fertilizer by one-third since they started farming. One reason for the change is composted manure provided by Niman Ranch hogs, along with new technology to replace synthetic nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer that prevents run-off.
After growing up on family farms, both Borrowmans pursued other careers after college. Following a three-year stint living in Prague, Czech Republic, they returned home and raised hog and row crops in 2015.
The family joined the Niman Ranch network in 2018. Since that time, they raise 500 hogs per year along with heirloom corn.
Another priority for the Borrowmans is the Niman Ranch Next Generation Foundation, a non-profit providing grants, scholarships, and mentorships for young farmers.
“This is part of the conversation we don’t have very often,” David said. “If you don’t have farmers able to make a living economically, you won’t have sustainable farms. You have to have people.”
In June 2023, the Borrowmans hosted a 5K run through their wildflower meadows to raise money for the Next Generation Foundation.
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, Iowa, on Aug. 26.