Our Hyrum, Utah, beef facility lies in Cache Valley beneath the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. Hyrum is known for its outdoor recreation, agriculture and pristine views. Our team understands the critical role they play in advancing environmental stewardship to maintain these important attributes. The facility is an industry leader in many best practices and has a long history of operational excellence.
To promote the continued viability of Hyrum’s mountain-fed streams, the team focuses on conserving water and has reduced water use by 20% since 2016. The main projects contributing to water saving efforts were the installation of recycle systems for the carcass wash cabinets and hide curing operations. Our environmental, engineering, operations and quality assurance teams worked in partnership with USDA on these projects to maintain food safety and product quality standards and reduce water by more than 150,000 gallons per day.
To ensure the water used in our facility is cleaned before it’s returned to the environment, our Hyrum beef facility has an onsite water reclamation facility. Our team has continuously exceeded the regulatory standards to return reclaimed water back to local streams. In 2019, Hyrum’s water discharge was 60% below our allowable Total Nitrogen (TN) limit and 30% below our Total Phosphorous (TP) limit.
We also partner with local farmers to utilize our reclaimed water to irrigate crops, and in 2019, our partnerships resulted in irrigating local agriculture fields with more than 77 million gallons of reclaimed water, improving crop yields and farmers’ viability and reducing stress on the region’s water supply. Additionally, in April of 2020, we began a $3.2 million upgrade to our water reclamation facility to further improve recovery of waste products by converting them to beneficial use.
Reducing Our Impact on Climate Change
Since 2015, our Hyrum beef facility has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 50%. To achieve this, we implemented a number of projects, the most impactful being a biogas collection and utilization system. Biogas generated by the anaerobic lagoon is collected and routed to the facility’s boiler system, where it displaces approximately 20% of the facility’s natural gas use. In 2019 alone, the facility beneficially combusted 99,000 dekatherms of this renewable energy source.
The facility also executed additional projects aimed at minimizing natural gas use — a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. These projects have collectively reduced more than 275,000 tons of CO2e from the atmosphere, equivalent to removing more than 45,800 cars from the road.
Reducing Waste to Landfills
To continue reducing our contributions to landfills, we focus on beneficially using organic solid waste generated at our Hyrum beef facility through a long-term partnership with a local composting company. More than 25,000 tons of solid waste is diverted from landfills each year and a renewable compost product is generated that benefits local gardens, farm fields and golf courses, to name a few.