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Natural Resources

Our global population is growing at a staggering rate. According the United Nations, the current global population of more than 7 billion will reach more than 8 billion in 2025 and more than 9.5 billion in 2050. Most of this growth will occur in developing regions, such as India and China, whereas population levels in developed regions, such as the United States and Europe, will remain largely unchanged or shrink. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that demand for livestock products will continue to intensify over the decades to come. Meat consumption alone is projected to rise nearly 73 percent by 2050.

According to Henning Steinfeld, Chief of FAO's Livestock Information, Sector Analysis and Policy Branch, “this continued growth in demand will be occurring within the context of increasing competition for finite and sometimes dwindling natural resources, additional challenges posed by climate change, and the imperative of making food production much more sustainable. We need to safeguard this important food sector, and improving the efficiency of its use of natural resources and bettering its performance in terms of sustainability is key."

At JBS® & Pilgrim’s®, we believe how we feed a growing planet in a healthy and sustainable manner is the great challenge of our time. It will require each of us to do more with less, maximize our efficiencies, incorporate the latest technologies and innovations, challenge some of the misperceptions about modern agriculture and utilize our precious natural resources in a way that maximizes production while minimizing our environmental footprint. We are excited to play a key role in meeting this great challenge by working hard each day to improve our operations and provide millions of consumers with nutritious protein options each and every day.

Our first role in this tremendous undertaking is focusing on what we control – the environmental performance of our plants and facilities. It is one of our core values to comply with all applicable environmental laws and regulations and a corporate objective to practice "above and beyond" compliance in all of our business activities. As such, when our processing facilities expand, or when we see an opportunity to build a more robust, effective pollution control system, or when new permit requirements are enacted, we respond with the necessary improvements.

We look first to adopting operational improvements (e.g., source reduction, waste minimization, etc.), but also invest significant capital to make physical improvements that increase our capacity to produce quality products in a sustainable manner. Our continuous improvement efforts are led by a corporate staff of environmental professionals and the majority of our processing plants are staffed with an environmental manager, a wastewater treatment supervisor and an environmental operations team. Working together, our teams are creating a safer, more efficient and more sustainable business equipped to meet the challenges of the future.

Land Nutrient Management

JBS® practiced land nutrient management planning long before it was required by law. The majority of the manure produced at JBS Five Rivers feedyards is applied to the land of neighboring farms or composted by third party composters for the commercial compost market.

JBS applies all storm water to land that we own or control. Since the nutrients in storm water are less transportable, intensive nutrient management plans must guide our land application practices. Nutrient management systems ensure that the land will be productive available for many years into the future. We employ three certified crop consultants that ensure that the nutrients are utilized in a sustainable manner.

$6,000,000 Upgrade in Hyrum

JBS® adopted significant upgrades in our beef processing facility in Hyrum, Utah, to meet new ammonia limits, total phosphorous limits, and total nitrogen limits. The roughly $6,000,000 upgrade primarily consisted of a new clarifier, new aeration basins, new anoxic basins (used to remove nitrates), phosphorous removal, and solids handling improvements. We are going above and beyond in Hyrum, installing an ultraviolet light disinfection system to replace chlorine, a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) computerized management system, and an enhanced denitrification system capable of nitrogen removal far exceeding permit limits.

Dissolved Air Floatation Machine

JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding® has a dissolved air floatation (DAF) machine at one feed yard that separates a percentage of the phosphorus from the storm water prior to land application. The phosphorus is removed in a very concentrated form which can be beneficially used. While we do not believe a DAF is appropriate in all situations, it is certainly a viable means of treating the water where conditions dictate.

Waste Water Treatment

All of our facilities utilize best practice wastewater treatment systems. One objective of JBS® is to include state-of-the-art technology to provide a robust, compliant and efficient system that consistently goes above and beyond regulatory requirements.

Grand Island $6,000,000 Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade

The roughly $6,000,000 wastewater treatment plant upgrade at our Grand Island, Nebraska beef processing facility includes a new activated sludge treatment plant, primarily to remove ammonia and discharge to the local municipality sewer system. We are going above and beyond regulatory requirements by installing anoxic basins (used to remove nitrates) and a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) computerized management system. In addition, the high-quality water the new system will produce can be more readily utilized in reuse applications at the facility, reducing consumption of potable water.

Storm Water Conveyance

Storm water runoff from an open lot feedyard often contains manure. The manure, if not removed from the storm water, is stored in a retention pond and can reduce the capacity of the retention pond to hold storm water. JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding®, in cooperation with a third party, has designed a simple flow dissipater to place in storm water conveyances and spillways to slow the flow of the water just enough to allow sediment to settle, without leaving standing water in the conveyance. In addition to settling solids, the flow dissipaters also spread the water across the entire conveyance, reducing erosion.

Plainwell Partners With Watershed Group

The Plainwell, Michigan beef facility is a voluntary partner with a regional watershed initiative group to reduce phosphorous discharge in the local watershed. The partnership requires at least a 23% reduction in phosphorous discharged to the watershed throughout the summer season, on top of an already strict limit established by the state. The partnership also promotes sustainable practices to minimize phosphorous in storm water runoff at non-point sources, such as farms and municipalities. Not only do we consistently meet this objective, we exceed it.

Phosphorous Reduction in Pork Plants

Our pork plant in Worthington, Minnesota has identified and implemented best practices to reduce phosphorous loading in their wastewater discharge. Despite an increase in the use of phosphorous-containing ingredients, by focusing on operational improvements, the facility has reduced phosphorous concentration in its wastewater discharge to its lowest level in more than three years, including reduction levels of approximately 30%. The facility continues diligently to pursue alternative technologies to further reduce phosphorous and nitrogen loading.

Air Pollution Control Systems

Many of our facilities produce typical air pollutants associated with fuel combustion and, due to the nature of our business, odors. We strive to install air pollutant control technology that addresses not only these regulated emissions but also minimizes offsite odors. We strive to incorporate the best available odor control technologies to ensure our facilities are good neighbors in their local communities.