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Conserving Energy & Water

JBS® and Pilgrim’s® recognize the need to preserve and protect the environment. Our operations, our team members, our neighbors and our communities depend on clean water, soil, and air.


Our business requires a substantial amount of water, electrical energy, and fuel, to promote food safety, health and hygiene, animal care and team member safety. These valuable resources allow us to provide delicious and nutritious products for millions of consumers every day. We recognize that the efficient and sustainable use of natural resources such as water and minimizing our energy footprint wherever possible are uncompromising priorities that not only benefit the efficiency of our operations, but contribute to a healthier planet. We actively lead and participate in efforts, both internal and external, that further our industry’s ability to minimize our impact on the environment, identify and implement more sustainable practices and contribute to a better future for coming generations.

Pen Sprinklers

Pen sprinklers have been strategically positioned in feed yards that have adequate water resources to negate the impact of dust. Pen sprinklers are a significant investment and demand a considerable amount of water. JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding® uses both fresh water and storm water runoff in pen sprinkling systems to maximize efficiencies. Peer-reviewed studies and third-party research have documented that there is no risk to food safety utilizing storm water runoff in pen sprinklers. Using storm water runoff for dust control is extremely beneficial, reducing our demand for surface or underground water while reusing utilizing a valuable water source in a sustainable manner.


Air quality is also maintained by properly managing the feed yard pen surface. Proper drainage ensures the pen surface will dry and minimizes standing water as soon as possible, after rain or snow. When harvesting manure, excess manure is removed while leaving the biological layer on the pen surface, thus sealing the surface and reducing malodorous emissions.

Company Initiative: Focus on Energy

Each production facility includes a conservation team, with members representing all aspects of our business. This team is tasked with identifying energy- and water-saving opportunities, educating other employees, and implementing best practices. They also focus on lost product - material lost to the wastewater stream that could otherwise be made into safe, viable food products.


These efforts have won accolades from the public sector, lessened our consumption of natural resources, and positively impacted our carbon footprint. The use of energy and water is a company-wide focus, from our team members on the production line, to plant management, to our corporate sustainability team. Weekly metrics regarding our water, electricity and natural gas use (among others), are compiled and reported.

Louisville Pork Plant Reduces Water Usage by 22%

Over a three year period, the Louisville, Kentucky pork plant reduced water usage, in terms of gallons per head, by nearly 22%. The number of individual best practices implemented are immense, ranging from replacing water-cooled equipment with air-cooled equipment and installing variable frequency drives on pumps and other motors (to reduce both electrical energy and water usage), to reclaiming certain waste streams for reuse in non-edible areas.

Tolleson Beef Plant Reverse Osmosis Technology

JBS® Tolleson, Arizona, beef processing plant utilizes company-owned wells where the water quality is high in total dissolved solids (TDS). The facility boilers use this water to generate steam, however the water usage rate is very high due to the poor quality of the water. As a result, the efficiency of the system was very low and required a superfluous amount of water and fuel. JBS Tolleson installed a new reverse osmosis unit to supply make-up water to the steam boilers. This created the ability to “cycle-up” the boilers, improving operating efficiency by 90%, reducing the usage of natural gas by approximately 10% and reducing facility water usage by approximately 5%.

GREEN BAY BEEF PLANT: Commitment to Energy Performance

Our Green Bay, Wisconsin, beef facility has received critical acclaim for their "Focus on Energy" program and has been awarded the Green Masters Certificate by the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council for five consecutive years (2010 – 2014).


Additionally, the Green Bay team recently signed an agreement with the Wisconsin Focus on Energy Program to participate in the Strategic Energy Management (SEM) program. This is a one-of-a kind program with participation limited to large industrial companies in the state that can demonstrate a commitment to improving energy performance. Through the agreement, JBS® Green Bay is committed to reducing energy costs by improving energy performance in electricity, water and natural gas use. The SEM program goal for JBS Green Bay is to reduce 800,000 in electric kWh and 70,000 Therms of natural gas.

Water Conservation at JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding

Recycling and reuse of water extends the life of underground aquifers and surface water resources. Society's demand for water is constantly increasing. JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding® is deploying technology to beneficially use overflow water from cattle drink tanks and storm water runoff, effectively reducing our water consumption and more effectively using this precious natural resource.

Existing Facility More Efficient

The new warehouse in Marshalltown, Iowa, will reduce consumption of diesel fuel by 1,000,000 gallons per year, the amount of fuel used in the past to move the product to outside cold storage.

Biogas Systems

Our facilities utilize biogas, produced by our wastewater treatment systems to reduce the consumption of natural gas and fossil fuel oil, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our pork processing plant in Marshalltown, Iowa, recovers biogas from an anaerobic treatment lagoon (used to treat manure). Using the biogas as an energy source, we are able to reduce natural gas consumption and emit fewer greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

New Warehouse Saves Fuel

The new warehouse in Marshalltown, Iowa, will reduce consumption of diesel fuel by 1,000,000 gallons per year, the amount of fuel used in the past to move the product to outside cold storage.

Pilgrim's Chicken Plants Reduce Water Usage

Each of our Pilgrim’s® chicken facilities has an active water conservation and waste minimization team. These teams aggressively identify opportunities and implement best practices to limit the use of natural resources. Many of our plants employ a water reuse system, saving upwards of 550,000 gallons per day, per plant.