RNG will help Smithfield meet carbon negative goal

By Erin Voegele | September 08, 2020

Smithfield Foods Inc. on Sept. 3 committed to making all of its company-owned operations in the U.S. carbon negative by 2030. The company’s on-farm renewable natural gas (RNG) projects will help meet that goal.

The carbon negative announcement builds on a goal announced by Smithfield in 2016 to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emission by 25 percent across its entire supply chain. The company launched Smithfield Renewables the following year to help reach that goal. As part of that initiative, Smithfield and its partners have been capturing biogas generated from hog manure produced on its company-owned farms and upgrading it to RNG. The company said RNG projects are being implemented across the majority of its finishing spaces in North Carolina, Virginia and Missouri.  

"Renewable energy is a cornerstone of our strategy to become carbon negative, and we have spent decades investing in and perfecting our approach," said Kraig Westerbeek, senior director of Smithfield Renewables and hog production environmental affairs, Smithfield Foods. "Capturing methane and transforming it into RNG removes at least 25 times more GHGs from the atmosphere than are released from its end use in power plants, homes, vehicles and businesses, creating a cleaner environment and even more sustainable farms."

Smithfield is also generating RNG from its wastewater treatment operations at several of its 40 U.S. processing facilities. The company said RNG produced at those facilities can be used to fuel process steam boilers. At Smithfield’s largest processing facility in Tar Heel, North Carolina, the RNG is used to power local homes and businesses.

The company is also using wind, logistics optimization, conservation and other methods to meet its carbon negative goal. Additional information is available on the Smithfield website.