Christina (Berget) Meylor raises pigs with her family at Silver Creek Family Farms in Darlington, Wis. Environmentally sound farming practices and a commitment to her community is what makes Christina one of our Leaders of the Land®.
Berget Farms started with pigs as a 20-hog farrow-to-finish operation over 50 years ago. In the 1980s, they moved the sows to the home farm and grew to 300 hogs. In 2002, Berget farms’ swine division was rebranded to Silver Creek Family Farms. It is now a 1,500 hog unit that sells around 50,000 weaned pigs annually.
Silver Creek has six full-time and three part-time employees. The farm prides itself on exceptional animal husbandry, efficiency, sustainability and its welcoming family-oriented atmosphere.
“You can’t raise 1,500 head of sows by yourself,” shared Christina. “We have a fantastic team of employees who do a great job – they are like family to us.”
Sustainability at Silver Creek Family Farms means doing things today that will lead to a better future for tomorrow. Some of those things include manure management and taking care of water health.
Manure is carefully managed at Silver Creek Family Farms. Manure is collected in a pit beneath the pig barn and contained in a cement-lined basin. Manure is a great nutrient source for plants and is used as fertilizer on the farm fields. The Berget family follows a nutrient management plan written by a crop expert. The plan is like a prescription for the precise amount of nutrients each field needs. Manure is always applied over a cover crop to prevent run-off and absorb the most nutrients into the soil.
“You can’t make more land and you can’t make more fresh water. You have to take care of it and that’s what we strive to do,” Christina said.
The Berget family is involved with the Lafayette Ag Stewardship Alliance watershed group. Networking with other area farmers is a great way to learn new things and develop new techniques to try on the land.
The National Pork Board also provides guidance for farmers to meet their own sustainability goals.
“We aren’t reinventing the wheel. We are using proven practices that are driving results around the nation.” said Christina.
The team at Silver Creek Family Farms is proud to abide by the We Care commitment outlined by the National Pork Producers Association. Six principles guide the We Care commitment: food safety, animal well-being, public health, environment, people and community.
“We love these We Care principles,” said Christina. “We are active in our community and do our best to go above and beyond for the people that work with us. We take great care of our resources from prioritizing animal wellbeing to protecting our land and water.”
Silver Creek Family Farms has a goal of becoming carbon neutral. They are already taking steps to conserve energy and sequester carbon on the farm. The team uses various conservation practices as part of their manure management program that have the dual benefit of enhancing the soil and capturing Carbon. They are also conscious of their water and energy usage and taking measures to lower their footprint and become more efficient.
Replacing heat lamps in the pig barn with more energy-efficient bulbs has been one way the Silver Creek team has reduced their energy usage. The team is also looking into new water management technologies to monitor water usage and efficiently distribute water to the animals.
“We want to be as efficient as we can in producing pigs to feed the world.” said Christina.
The Berget family has been recognized for their stewardship and animal husbandry. In 2018, the family received the Soil Stewardship Innovation Leadership Award from the Lafayette County Land Conservation Department. The team received the Wisconsin Pork Association (WPA) Distinguished Service Award in 2023 for their sustainability mindset and active involvement in WPA. Additionally, Christina currently serves as the president of the Wisconsin Pork Association.
A great team helps the Berget family achieve their goals. Christina hopes to continue the family legacy for generations to come.