Sustainability & Animal Welfare

Sustainability: Green Fields. Blue Skies. Taking sustainable pork production into the future.

The Rewards of Responsibility

From our farmers to our processors, Farmland® is committed to sustainable production.

At Farmland®, Sustainability is Smart Business

Sustainable production isn’t just a trend. It’s our responsibility. And at Farmland Foods, we believe it goes hand in hand with sound business practices. It starts simply, by recycling cardboard, office paper, wood pallets, used oil, and pickle and brine. For example, Farmland reduced solid waste by 112 tons a year at one plant by recycling plastic trimmings from packaging lines. But, recycling is just the beginning. We want to do more. Farmland is committed to the planning, execution, measurement and continuous improvement of all aspects of sustainability, including:

  • Saving 7.1 million gallons of water annually.
  • Reducing organic waste by 600 pounds every day.
  • Decreasing box use by 20%.
  • Providing 10 million gallons of sludge for fertilizer.
  • Composting 160 tons of wood chips annually for landscaping material.

Farmland also participates in the Chicago Climate Exchange carbon credit program, and all of our facilities are certified by a third party to the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Standard. In fact, Farmland Foods was the first meat processing company to have all meat processing and livestock facilities certified to this particular standard.

2012 Sustainability Report Click Here

Ingenuity in All Phases

We put the same ingenuity into sustainable pork production that we put into the products themselves. Farmland® has put in place programs designed to reduce our carbon footprint, water intensity, and organic waste, all while still increasing profits. These include:

  • Switching to alternate fuel, reducing both natural gas usage and CO2 emissions.
  • Combining shipments, thus reducing the number of trucks on the road.
  • Installing economizers on boiler exhaust stacks to capture waste heat and increase feed water temperature.
  • Biogas generated from our wastewater treatment plant capturing and burning it in a facility, preventing it from being released into the atmosphere.
  • Installing more efficient sanitation nozzles, new smokehouse units and new vacuum pumps saved 7.1 million gallons annually.
  • Wastewater treatment plants providing sludge from lagoons to local farmers every year for fertilization of row crops. In 2009, almost
    10 million gallons of sludge were land-applied as fertilizer.
  • Reducing organic waste by 600 pounds a day by implementing new cleaning procedures.
  • About 160 tons of spent smokehouse wood chips are composted annually into soil amendments by a local landscape company.
  • Waste material from hog holding barns is composted on-site and is then used for landscaping material. Farmland has also recently begun a life cycle cost evaluation of major equipment purchases. Less use of natural gas, electricity, water and compressed air all are weighted factors in the overall purchase decision. Examples of recent efforts include:
    • Switching to a new bagging system that allows for greater flexibility when packaging fresh cuts of meat, which will allow for a reduction in the amount of plastic used to bag our products.
    • Eliminating the cardboard enclosure that had been the standard on individual packages of bacon. Rather than fanning the bacon slices, Farmland now “stackpacks” the bacon upright. This saves cardboard.
    • By working closely with our boxing supplier, we changed the type of box being used to ship several products, resulting in up to a 20% reduction of box use.

Giving Back

Many of our plants are in Midwestern rural settings; therefore, our economic and social impact to those communities can be significant. This takes our commitment to sustainability beyond our production methods. Farmland® associates at every level have dedicated themselves to adopting a culture of responsibility. Our contributions include:

  • Assisting in the rebuilding of Greensburg, Kansas (totally devastated by a tornado), as a “green town.” To assist displaced families, Farmland plant workers collected donations and served food to the citizens of Greensburg. Farmland also donated $5,000 worth of trees and shrubs to Greensburg’s Sunset Park.
  • Granting 10 scholarships of $1,000 each to children of Farmland Foods employees by recycling about 420,000 pounds of scrap metal at one facility. Due to its success, this program is currently being rolled out to other facilities.

The Results… So Far

Farmland’s efforts have not gone unnoticed:

  • American Meat Institute (AMI) Tier 4 Award
  • 1st Place AMI Community Outreach category
  • 2nd place in the AMI Pollution Prevention category for BOD reduction
  • Western Illinois Economic Development Partnership Environmental Impact Award
  • Governor’s Pollution Prevention Award Winner 2007; Finalist 2008
  • Nebraska Council on the Environment Award — 2007 EMS Program and 2008 Community Outreach

Animal Welfare

Farmland Animal Welfare Policy Statement

Farmland Foods is committed to being an industry leader in animal welfare and the humane treatment of livestock at all Farmland Foods facilities. Farmland Foods is also committed to working with pork suppliers and procuring animals from producers who humanely raise wholesome, nutritious food products and provide the highest standard of animal welfare. Animal welfare and humane handling is the “right thing” to do during all aspects of animal production: on-farm, during transportation and at Farmland Foods.

Farmland requires that producers provide animals with the following:

  1. A high degree of caring and responsible management practices to ensure animal welfare. Managers and caretakers must be thoroughly trained, skilled and competent in animal husbandry and welfare.
  2. Shelter that is designed, maintained and operated to provide a physical and thermal environment that meets the animals’ needs.
  3. Access to fresh water and high-quality feed to meet animal nutritional requirements and promote positive state of well-being.
  4. Humane treatment of their animals to enhance animal welfare and comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
  5. Skilled and responsible animal handling to enhance animal welfare and comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
  6. All producers must have an animal health plan in consultation with a veterinarian. This provides assurance of identification and appropriate treatments of animals that may need health care.
  7. Use humane methods to euthanize sick or injured animals that will not respond to medical care or treatment.
  8. Animal transport designed and managed to ensure animals are moved with minimal discomfort. Transport personnel must be trained and competent to carry out the tasks required of them.