SMITHFIELD, Va. – Smithfield Foods, Inc. is doing its part to help the environment. The world's largest pork processor and hog producer announced today that it is joining the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and environmental and scientific experts in a competition to develop affordable technologies that recycle nutrients from livestock manure. The competition, the Nutrient Recycling Challenge, is designed to identify more effective and affordable solutions to recycling nutrients.

“At Smithfield, we recognize that focusing on innovation is the key to achieving excellence across all our sustainability pillars – animal care, environment, employees, food safety and quality, and helping communities,” said Dennis Treacy, executive vice president and chief sustainability officer. “This competition provides an opportunity to join with others in the pork and dairy industries to further advance technologies and practices that recycle nutrients.”

Smithfield has transformed anaerobically-digested manure into fertilizer and biogas for more than two decades.

The goal of the Nutrient Recycling Challenge is to identify ways of recovering nutrients – such as nitrogen and phosphorus – from the manure managed by livestock producers to generate products that have environmental and economic benefits.

“With such a strong focus on effective manure management systems, Smithfield is a natural partner in the Nutrient Recycling Challenge,” said Kraig Westerbeek, vice president of Environmental Compliance & Support Operations of Smithfield’s Hog Production Division. “Today, Smithfield has a ready supply of anaerobically-digested manure, ideal for powering renewable energy projects and producing valuable fertilizer. Our goal in partnering in this competition is to encourage innovation and identify additional opportunities for continuous improvement in management of livestock manure.”

The Nutrient Recycling Challenge is a four-phase competition – ultimately, participants will transform their concept into designs and working technologies that will be used in pilot projects on livestock farms. In Phase I, beginning Nov. 16 and ending Jan. 15, 2016, entrants will outline their ideas for the nutrient recovery technologies.

Phase I prizes will be announced in March 2016 and include up to $20,000 cash to be split among up to four semifinalists. Semifinalists will be invited to a two-day partner and investor summit in Washington, DC, and entry into subsequent phases of the challenge with opportunities for larger awards. Final awards will be announced January 2017 with farm demonstration pilots to follow.
For more information about the challenge,