In this file:


·         Green Plant of the Year 2019: Smithfield Foods

On a five-year mission to sustainability, this pet food plant in Orange City, Iowa, became zero waste-to-landfill.


·         The startup helping Smithfield turn manure into a circular resource

·         Smithfield donates $250,000 toward Southeast Tech's workforce development campaign

·         Smithfield Foods taps local colleges in its expanding apprenticeship program



Green Plant of the Year 2019: Smithfield Foods

On a five-year mission to sustainability, this pet food plant in Orange City, Iowa, became zero waste-to-landfill.


By Dave Fusaro, Food Processing

Oct 01, 2019


Smithfield Foods’ Orange City, Iowa, facility was built in 1972, an era in which energy efficiency was just appearing on the radar and sustainability simply meant keeping the plant in operation by making as much product as possible as cheaply as possible.


Fast-forward to the 21st century, when energy is a cost concern but moreso a component of natural resource depletion and greenhouse gas emissions. And corporate responsibility reports are almost as necessary as 10-K's. The Orange City plant began setting goals for sustainability in 2014 and in the next two years embarked on a number of programs to propel it to the forefront of sustainable manufacturing.


Using 2014 as a baseline for comparisons, the Smithfield plant, which makes pet food blends and treats, has reduced energy usage by 12%, water usage by 31%, and greenhouse gas emissions by 29%, while increasing production by 22% (it now has an annual production volume of over 100 million lbs.). And it achieved third-party ISO 14001:2015 certification based on its comprehensive Environmental Management System.


The facility also achieved zero-waste-to-landfill certification in 2018 through increased recycling and waste reduction and by partnering with a local provider to recycle cardboard and plastic material used for packaging. Additionally, materials from the plant previously determined as waste for the landfill are now used to generate renewable energy at a private waste-to-energy facility.


All of which made for a very convincing 200-word essay in our 10th annual Green Plant of the Year competition.


"Sustainability and operating efficiency are both really important to Smithfield Foods as a whole," says Paul McLeod, plant manager. "We have a lot of targets as a company, and each plant gets the opportunity to work toward achieving those goals."


"As a corporation, sustainability has been ingrained in our DNA. It's a huge part of who we are and what we do," adds John Meyer, senior director of environmental affairs. "We have corporate goals across our entire, global supply chain of:





The startup helping Smithfield turn manure into a circular resource


Shane Downing, GreenBiz

October 2, 2019


When Amy Yoder became CEO of Anuvia Plant Nutrients in 2015, she had her work cut out for her.


Although the Zellwood, Florida-based company was well on its way to developing products intended to bring large-scale sustainability to farmers by creating a fertilizer with the potential to limit nutrient runoff, improve soil quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the pilot research was taking place in a space about half the size of a typical living room. "My first goal was to get the technology to work," Yoder said, laughing.


Today, Yoder is smiling for a different reason. Not only has she gotten "the technology to work," but Anuvia also just announced (PDF) that it’s opening a second fertilizer production facility in Plant City, Florida, that will create 135 local jobs and increase the company’s annual production of its bio-based fertilizers from 80,000 tons to 1.2 million tons. The plant is expected to be operational by Q2 2020.


Since the company was founded in 2005, Anuvia’s goal has been to allow farmers in the agriculture and turf industries to produce more with less. The company’s product offerings were created with soil health, population growth, food demand and time-strapped farmers in mind, not to mention providing an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional synthetic nitrogen fertilizers.


From an environmental standpoint, nitrogen pollution largely has been ignored, especially considering it’s one of the four planetary boundaries humankind already has exceeded, alongside climate change, deforestation and biodiversity loss.


Because nitrogen is often a common limiting factor for plant growth, humans increasingly have relied on synthetic nitrogen fertilizers to meet global food demand. Worldwide, some 120 million tons of synthetic nitrogen are used in agriculture, and according to the Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (PDF), that’s twice as much nitrogen that’s applied to fields from organic sources such as animal manure, crop waste and nitrogen-fixing leguminous plants. The industry’s reliance on synthetic nitrogen fertilizers is responsible for roughly two-thirds of global nitrogen pollution, which leads to algal blooms, poisoned aquifers, toxic red tides and dead zones.


Those deleterious environmental impacts led Yoder and her team at Anuvia to create a line of nitrogen fertilizer products designed to quickly move nutrients from soil into plants. Whereas it can take nature up to two years to convert manure into usable nutrients, Anuvia’s proprietary technology does it in about six minutes. More so, Anuvia claims that its products reduce nutrient loss and improve soil quality, and compared to conventional fertilizers, Anuvia’s products can increase farmers’ ROI by up to five times, while reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by up to 32 percent.


That bit about farmers’ ROI caught the attention of Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer. In 2017, Smithfield set a goal to reduce its carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2025. That included a commitment to engage 70 percent of Smithfield’s grain supply chain farmers in fertilizer optimization and soil health techniques by 2018. The company surpassed its supply chain goal by 10 percent, primarily through agronomic techniques such as cover crops, crop rotation and nutrient management planning; however, because its grain supply chain contributes between 15 and 18 percent to its overall carbon emissions, Smithfield wanted to do more.


"During that time period, we kept our eyes open for technologies that both improved soil health but also helped farmers’ bottom line," said Kraig Westerbeek, senior director of Smithfield Renewables...


more, including links, photos



Smithfield donates $250,000 toward Southeast Tech's workforce development campaign


Katie Nelson, Sioux Falls Argus Leader (SD)

Oct. 2, 2019


A longtime Sioux Falls business is helping Southeast Technical Institute keep its promise of better preparing students for the future.


Smithfield Foods Inc. gifted the tech school with a five-year, $250,000 donation toward its Southeast Tech New Opportunities for Workforce Development campaign at the Economic Outlook Seminar in Sioux Falls on Tuesday. The capital campaign, the school's first, was established in 2018 with the goal of offering programs that fill gaps in South Dakota's workforce.


Robert Griggs, president of Southeast Tech, said Smithfield's donation is directed specifically toward the development of an American Veterinary Medical Association-approved veterinary technician program at the school. The money will go toward building a 4,500-square foot classroom and lab space.


"Smithfield is very committed and part of this community," Griggs said. "The donation is really an investment, not only in Southeast Tech, but in helping South Dakota build a highly skilled workforce."


In addition, $500,000 of the campaign's funds is being matched by the Governor's Future Fund, giving the school more than $1 million, Griggs said.


At the seminar, Gov. Kristi Noem lauded Smithfield's commitment to community development.


"They have chosen to have a heart. They're a company that continues to help people," she said.


Smithfield President and CEO Ken Sullivan expressed the company's desire to support Southeast Tech's goal of furthering economic growth in the region, especially related to trades like electric, HVAC and manufacturing.


"All these things, I think we're in need of. They keep the infrastructure running," Sullivan said...


more, including links



Smithfield Foods taps local colleges in its expanding apprenticeship program


Riia O'Donnell, HRDive

Oct. 1, 2019


Dive Brief:


·         Smithfield Food announced a new apprenticeship program intended to develop talent in skilled trade positions. The program, which includes current workers, high school graduates and veterans, provides participants with engineering and mechanic training while they earn associate degrees. The apprentices will receive free tuition, salary and benefits as they move through the program.

·         Smithfield launched this program at Wayne Community College in Goldsboro, North Carolina. It will expand the program across the nation by partnering with colleges located near Smithfield facilities, it said in a news release. Another partnership is in the works with Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska, to launch another apprenticeship program for the company next year.

·         Smithfield partnered also with NCWorks, a job resource for employers and candidates, as well as ApprenticeshipNC, which helps businesses create flexible hiring and training solutions.


Dive Insight:


As the employment market continues to strain employers, apprenticeships are popping up across the country steadily. About a year ago, Wisconsin Oven launched its Wisconsin Oven Universal Training Center and its an earn-while-you-learn program to build a pipeline of workers. Larger companies have benefited from the apprenticeship, too. Nearly two-thirds of Frito-Lay's manufacturing sites, for example, have partnered with local colleges to reskill current employees and attract new ones...


more, including links