California continues to face one of the most severe droughts on record, and everyone has a role to play in conservation. Foster Farms is committed to reducing water use, while leading the U.S. poultry industry in food safety.
In 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture imposed new industry standards for Salmonella control, which resulted in a 6 percent increase in Foster Farm’s total water use from 2013 to 2014. As a solution to this increase, the company installed new processing and metering equipment, which reduced their “per bird” water usage by 19 percent since 2014. Their current performance with new conservation projects is estimated to achieve an eventual 20 to 25 percent in savings in early 2016. The company has seen a 3.4 percent decrease in water use compared to 2013 and an 8.9 percent reduction compared to 2014. Foster Farms has achieved and maintained industry-leading Salmonella control results while reducing water use overall.
Foster Farms has historically and strongly partnered with the City of Livingston on the upkeep and condition of the water system. In 2015, the company consulted with the city on maintenance of wells and spent more than $140,000 in upgrades and maintenance. Prior to 2015, Foster Farms invested in a $17 million water treatment facility that treats processing water and returns 60 to 70 percent of city water back to the aquifer. Projects completed in July 2015 have already brought the facility below 2013 water usage, even with increased plant volume.
This year, Foster Farms developed a series of aggressive conservation initiatives that will further reduce water usage and achieve an estimated 20 to 25 percent reduction over the next several months compared to 2013. These projects represent a $4.1 million investment and include projects underway as well as those planned for the near future.