KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Cargill has issued a response after leading meat institutional leaders sent joint letters to major meat producers of the United States regarding water pollution risks associated with feeding, slaughtering, and processing livestock.

The company issued its rebuttal after a Ceres joint letter on water waste and pollution on Nov. 21. Ceres is a non-profit organization that advocates for sustainability leadership as well as environmental issues. 

"Water is critical to supporting the agricultural economy, and we are committed to advancing sustainable solutions,” Cargill said in a statement. “In our operations, we have reduced water use in our North America protein business by 15 percent over the last decade. We monitor and upgrade our systems to effectively treat wastewater, which is then used to irrigate local farms surrounding many of our facilities.”

Cargill also said that it is working with several groups to improve water stewardship across the supply chain in North America and beyond. 

This included the US and global roundtables on sustainable beef, field to market, living lands and waters, world resources institute, and the recently launched Midwest row crop collaborative, a multi-stakeholder group working to reduce nutrient runoff into the rivers and streams of the Mississippi River basin.