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Protecting the Water, Air, and Land

Our Actions Speak Louder

At National Beef®, we’ve used the power of science, innovation, and technology to strike an incredibly delicate balance: producing quality products while protecting the environment. But our job is never done. We’re continually working to reduce our impact and improve efficiencies—for the resources we depend on, the communities we live in, and the future generations we’ll serve.

Protecting Water Resources

Within our facilities, our water conservation goal is threefold: reduce, reclaim, and reuse.

Water Conservation

National Beef works with the community to build strong water management systems. In Dodge City, Kansas, we partner with the city and a local farm family to pretreat wastewater for crop irrigation. This replaces the need to pull fresh water for irrigation and aids in the conservation of the local aquifer. Learn more about the success of this innovation and how it is being modeled at our new wastewater treatment plant at our processing facility in Liberal, Kansas.

Water Reclamation

We conserve fresh water in our plants by using treated reclaimed water whenever possible, such as in boilers and condensers. At our Kansas processing facilities, all the water used in our hide-on carcass wash is reclaimed. And at our Liberal facility specifically, the water used in the hide brine curing process comes from reclaimed sources. We even recover the salt for reuse in the curing process.

Wastewater Management

Each National Beef facility has processes and advanced technology to minimize the impact of wastewater, including removal of solids and reduction contaminants with biological processes. At our wet blue leather tannery in St. Joseph, Missouri, we implement a proprietary chrome recovery process that reduces the impact on the city’s treatment facility. Chrome is salvaged for reuse.

Limiting Emissions

We actively strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by covering wastewater lagoons. This is designed to reduce the release of methane gas into the atmosphere. Captured methane is either used as biogas (a replacement for natural gas) or flared to avoid release into the environment. At our Liberal, Kansas facility, biogas replaces approximately 20% of natural gas requirements.

Reducing Our Energy Use

We invest in high-efficiency lighting, low-energy monitors, and auto-shutoff technology in our coolers, storage areas, and warehouses to reduce the energy used in our facilities. And we are continually replacing and upgrading equipment to more energy-efficient models. At our beef processing facilities in Kansas, we recycle heat from rendering systems to produce hot water for processing; this reduces the fossil fuel requirements of those facilities.

Enriching the Land

National Beef sends carcass paunch from our Kansas facilities to a composting program at the Seward County Landfill (SCL). The paunch material is composted into a soil amendment valued as a fertilizer for agriculture and home gardening. The SCL also utilizes the compost as a natural landfill cell cover, eliminating the need for plastic covers. This natural cover aids in the growth of grasses that further enhance the biodegradation process.

In North Baltimore, Ohio, our facility is leading the charge on a Zero Landfill initiative that encourages reusing and reclaiming through an extensive recycling program.

Eliminating Waste and Creating Value

While beef is the mainstay of our business, we optimize the value of the whole animal to reduce waste. Carcass by-products provide materials to medical, consumer, and animal nutrition. And our Leather Working Group (LWG) Silver-certified tannery processes raw hides into wet blue leather to be used in automotive seats, footwear, and accessories.

At our beef processing facilities in Kansas, the rendering process converts residual parts of the carcass into edible and inedible animal by-products. This reduces food waste, saves landfill space, and decreases environmental impact. National Beef renders 1.5 billion pounds of raw material each year.