TUCKER, Ga. – In observance of Earth Day, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) is highlighting two videos from its series emphasizing environmental stewardship on poultry and egg farms and on poultry companies with exemplary performance at water reclamation. The two videos are of Riverhill Farms in Port Republic, Va., and Simmons Foods in Southwest City, Mo.
Riverhill Farms is a recipient of USPOULTRY’s Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award, which recognizes exemplary environmental stewardship by family farms engaged in poultry and egg production. Simmons Foods is a recipient of USPOULTRY’s Clean Water Award, which recognizes exemplary performance at water reclamation facilities serving the poultry industry.
Riverhill Farms is owned and operated by Glenn and Sheri Rodes, along with their parents, brothers and extended family. The Rodes raise turkeys, dairy and beef cattle, corn and forage. Their farm has five turkey barns, and they raise turkeys for Cargill Turkey Production. Because of their location in the Shenandoah Valley where soil phosphorus levels can be elevated, the Rodes work hard to properly manage their nutrients. Poultry litter and other combustible material is used as a fuel source in a biomass burner that generates hot water. The hot water flows through pipes in the floor of the turkey houses to keep the turkeys warm during the winter months. The Rodes’ passion for identifying alternate fuel sources drove them to build a small operation that manufactures biodiesel from canola and soybeans grown on their farm. Biodiesel generated on the farm is used to fuel tractors and other farm equipment.
Simmons Foods’ Southwest City Complex processes and treats an average wastewater flow of 2.28 million gallons per day. The facility currently converts dissolved air flotation (DAF) skimmings into a valuable ingredient that is used in the production of high fat, high protein, high value cattle feed. This process allows more than 130 million pounds of material to be recycled into the food chain each year rather than being land applied. The Southwest City Complex’s rendering facility also utilizes roughly 5,000 boiler horse power of thermal oxidizing technology to reduce odor emissions. The thermal oxidizers are a European technology, with Simmons Foods being the first to use this technology at a rending plant in the United States. One highlight of their operation is the facility’s water reuse program. The Southwest City Complex recycles between 300,000 to 350,000 gallons per day, or 18 percent of the total flow, of treated effluent for use at the complex. The recycled water has greatly reduced the volume Simmons Foods pumps from the Gasconade aquifer. The facility has been recycling their treated effluent since 1996, with the total volume of recycled water equaling approximately 2 billion gallons.