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Innovation

JBS® and Pilgrim’s® recognize that the challenge of feeding a growing planet cannot be met simply by using the agricultural practices of today. Importantly, we also know that the we cannot accomplish our mission to be the best if we simply rest on our past accomplishments. We know that sustainability means doing better today than we did yesterday so that we have an opportunity to improve in the future. Sustainability is a journey of continuous improvement. Rather than a destination, sustainability is a never-ending journey that requires the use of the latest technologies and innovations to meet the awesome challenges before us.


Most consumers are unfamiliar with the modern agricultural system and the tremendous benefits it provides them and their families. We are proud to be a part of the most modern, efficient, safe and globally-dispersed food system in the history of mankind. And while we have accomplished so much, empowering so many people around the world to improve their livelihoods through the consumption of nutritious, affordable protein – we know there is so much more to do. Leveraging the latest technologies and innovations, channeling the spirit of Norman Borlaug and transparently communicating why we do what we do to our customers and consumers; we are confident we can meet the great challenge of our time – feeding our growing global population in a sustainable manner that responsibly meets their needs today, while empowering the next generation to responsibly meet their needs in the future.

Manure Gasifier

Innovation and technology are the tools that will bridge the gap between our current capabilities and our future needs. Over the last several years, JBS Five Rivers® has invested significant capital and human energy researching a technology to capture and utilize energy from feed yard manure. Working with David Brookes and Harsh International, we successfully developed a pilot scale manure gasifier. The gasifier "burns" manure and produces hot air that is then used to make steam. The gasifier technology has the potential to replace the natural gas boilers located in all our feed mills. The gasifier produces renewable energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and reduces the amount of land needed for manure management.

Air Emissions and Odor Control Systems

At our Louisville, Kentucky, pork processing plant, we installed new 40,000 cubic foot per minute (CFM) pack bed scrubbers to address “high intensity” processes and improve general room air quality. We then upgraded to a 75,000 CFM room air scrubber to further improve our performance. We installed a softener for the scrubbers to minimize scaling and lessen water usage. We covered the grease tank to minimize vapor to room air and installed two new shell and tube condensers to more efficiently recover waste energy. Louisville creates over 300,000 gallons per day of 140 degree water from waste heat. This hot water is then used to effectively clean the plant. By utilizing this waste heat we reduce our usage of natural resources (i.e., natural gas) and our carbon footprint.

Reduction in Packaging

Reducing the amount of materials used in packaging is a strategic area of focus for our business. We continuously explore ways to reduce both packaging sizes and eliminate redundancies. We have accomplished this by working with our numerous vendors to employ new innovations and techniques that shrink our packaging footprint. For example, we worked closely with one of our vendors to decrease the thickness of some of the bags we use with our products. This enabled JBS® to use less plastic resin in our bags, thus creating a more favorable environmental footprint.

Reduction in Waste Product

Eight of the beef and pork facilities use centrifuges to capture waste grease from the wastewater flow stream, then transform the grease into a salable product. Many of the chicken facilities capture excess material and produce a salable product, as well. This, in many cases, completely eliminates landfilling and land application needs, while providing a financial benefit to the company. An additional three facilities are scheduled for grease recovery system upgrades.

Landfill Diversion

We continually work with companies to identify and employ landfill diversion innovations. We currently work with several companies on landfill diversion options for used plastic materials. Used or “dirty” materials constitute approximately 20% of our total volume of landfill municipal solid waste. We work with both local and national to help ensure we are maximizing our opportunities to divert waste from landfills.