LAUREL, Miss. —Sanderson Farms outlined its sustainability efforts and pointed to some examples of how the poultry processor changed its environmental outlook in recent years.
The company noted that compared to the baseline value set in 2008, it achieved a 24 percent reduction in electricity usage, a 43 percent reduction in natural gas usage and a 44 percent reduction in water.
“Sanderson Farms’ growth over the past two decades is the result of many years of research, planning, hard work and determination,” said Pic Billingsley, director of development and engineering for Sanderson Farms. “We strategically select sites in order to build the most innovative and environmentally sustainable facilities in the poultry industry.”
The company said it uses numerous methods to treat wastewater so it can be discharged directly to streams or applied to land application systems. Their advanced process allows Sanderson to replenish natural water sources, support stream flow, organically fertilize farmland, and irrigate crops.
“At Sanderson Farms’ wastewater treatment facilities, we aim to minimize the company’s impact on surrounding natural resources by preserving and returning to the environment what the company has utilized throughout our operations,” said Mike Yawn, Sanderson Farms’ Collins, Mississippi, Processing Division, environmental supervisor. “I believe we should be good stewards of all the natural resources we have been blessed with, for the benefit of ourselves and future generations to come.”
This method allows for renewable energy to be used during wastewater processing at Sanderson facilities. Biogas generated during wastewater treatment is captured and treated in a pressure swing adsorption system, resulting in pipeline quality gas for various poultry operations.
During 2018, the biogas generated throughout Sanderson could supply the company’s Moultrie, Georgia, poultry complex with gas for over a year and a half.
The poultry processor is also dealing with technology waste with its e-waste recycling program. Sanderson partnered with companies who specialize in disposing and recycling outdated technology and equipment. Initiatives have also been put in place to reduce packaging waste.
“Sustainability and compliance are not efforts led by the contributions of one or even a few qualified individuals,” said Stephanie Shoemaker, Sanderson Farms manager of environmental services for regulatory and permitting. “It takes the concerted efforts of each and every person within the company and a corporate culture that creates our expectation of innovation and strict compliance with environmental rules and regulations to make an impact.”