Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, announced it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its U.S. supply chain 25 percent by 2025. Smithfield is the first major livestock company to set an absolute supply chain goal to reduce the emissions that cause climate change.
The reductions will generate benefits for the environment and rural economies by improving fertilizer use on feed grain, installing improved manure management technologies, and increasing energy efficiency in processing and transportation. The company’s manure management improvements will nearly eliminate emissions of methane, a potent climate pollutant, on the farms where they are installed. Manure management changes can also benefit communities by substantially reducing emissions of ammonia nitrogen – which is linked to human respiratory illness and impaired water quality – and reducing other gases that can cause odor.
“Smithfield’s new commitment is impressive,” said Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp. “It shows that environmental progress goes hand-in-hand with strong agricultural and thriving rural economies. The actions Smithfield takes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will generate important benefits not only for our climate, but also for clean water, human health, and quality of life in rural communities.
“Smithfield has challenging work ahead to achieve its goal,” Krupp added, “and success will require collaboration with farmers and others throughout the agriculture industry. We commend Smithfield’s leadership and urge other agricultural corporations to make ambitious commitments to protect our natural resources.”
Editors Note: I’m left wondering how this will affect the pigs themselves. While I appreciate the effort to reduce methane, I also have real concerns about the animal welfare aspect of this. Will the pigs be treated more humanely, worse, or status quo?
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