Smithfield Foods, Inc. has announced that the company is joining the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and environmental and scientific experts in their Nutrient Recycling Challenge, a competition to develop affordable technologies that recycle nutrients from livestock manure. As an industry leader in sustainability, Smithfield has transformed anaerobically-digested manure into a second useful life as fertilizer and biogas for more than two decades. As a partner of this competition, Smithfield hopes to support efforts that build on its history of sustainability and identify even more effective and affordable solutions to recycling nutrients.
"At Smithfield, we recognize that focusing on innovation is the key to achieving excellence across all our sustainability pillars — animal care, environment, employees, food safety and quality, and helping communities," said Dennis Treacy, Executive Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer. "This competition provides an opportunity to join with others in the pork and dairy industries to further advance technologies and practices that recycle nutrients."
The Nutrient Recycling Challenge invites entrants to develop or enhance technologies that extract nutrients from the manure managed by livestock producers. The goal is to identify ways of recovering valuable nutrients — such as nitrogen and phosphorus — to generate products that have environmental and economic benefits.
"With such a strong focus on effective manure management systems, Smithfield is a natural partner in the Nutrient Recycling Challenge," said Kraig Westerbeek, Vice President of Environmental Compliance & Support Operations of Smithfield's Hog Production Division. "Today, Smithfield has a ready supply of anaerobically-digested manure, ideal for powering renewable energy projects and producing valuable fertilizer. Our goal in partnering in this competition is to encourage innovation and identify additional opportunities for continuous improvement in management of livestock manure."
The Nutrient Recycling Challenge is a four-phase competition. Beginning with an idea, innovators transform their concept into designs and working technologies that will be used in pilot projects on livestock farms. In Phase I, Nov. 16 to Jan. 15, entrants will outline their ideas for nutrient recovery technologies. Phase I prizes will be announced in March and include up to $20,000 cash to be split among up to four semifinalists. Semifinalists will be invited to a two-day partner and investor summit in Washington, D.C. and entry into subsequent phases of the challenge with opportunities for larger awards. Final awards will be announced January 2017 with farm demonstration pilots to follow.
For more information about the challenge, visit nutrientrecyclingchallenge.org.