There’s a long pause and then laughter be­­fore Bruce and Jenny Wessling can answer a question about what their environmental awards mean to them. It’s a tough question to answer, they say.

That’s because the Greene County hog farmers didn’t add terraces or buffer strips to their fields or four rows of trees on the north side of their hog buildings near Grand Junction to win the awards.

"It’s always shocking (to re­­ceive the awards), and it’s an honor, but it’s not something we’re working for — to get these awards," Jenny said. "We’re living the way of life we believe in."

The family was recently named one of two Pork Industry Environmental Stew­­ards for 2014. The Pork Checkoff and National Hog Farmer magazine cosponsored the award, now in its 20th year. It recognizes hog farmers who are dedicated to safeguarding the environment and contributing to their local communities. The Wessling family received the...