03/09/04 — Murphy Brown's new tool

View Archive

Murphy Brown's new tool

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on March 9, 2004 2:01 PM

RALEIGH -- Hog farmers across the United States have the ability to better protect the environment thanks to a new tool developed by a company in Warsaw, say company officials.

Murphy-Brown LLC, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods Inc., has been using an environmental management system for all of its operations, and it announced on Monday that a modified version of its system is available for other producers on the Internet.

Don Butler, director of governmental relations and public affairs with Murphy-Brown, joined others at the McKimmon Conference and Training Center in Raleigh to discuss the new tool and how it could help make the environment of North Carolina better.

Having an environmental management system in place on a swine operation can help identify and manage the parts of the operation that could harm the environment, including feeding, cleanup, waste treatment systems and spraying waste on fields. It can also make it easier to comply with regulations and prevent problems, said Butler.

The Internet guidance manual explains how to train personnel to work with the system, monitor and measure environmental performance, prepare for emergencies, and identify and correct deficiencies.

Butler said the company had an 87 percent reduction in environmental notices after its system was in place. Few producers now use such a system. He encourages farmers to visit the Web site and download the information.

Swine producers interested in developing their own environmental management system can download three free packets of information from any of these Web sites: www.smithfieldfoods.com, www.p2pays.org, or www.ncpork.com.

The information includes a guidance manual on how to develop an environmental management system for a typical swine production operation, a copy of an existing management system in use on an N.C. swine farm and a fill-in-the-blank template that producers can customize to meet the needs of their operations.

Murphy-Brown developed the tool in partnership with the N.C. Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance.

Using the tool is voluntary. It is designed to give producers a way to achieve their environmental goals and go beyond what the state requires, said William G. Ross Jr. with the N.C. Department of Environmental and Natural Resources. The tool is not a substitute for state regulations.

Britt Cobb, N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services commissioner, said the swine industry plays a significant role in the state's $62 billion agriculture industry.

"It's great that this tool is being made available to others across the country," he said.

For more information about the tool, contact Butler at 910-293-5328 or Beth Graves or Sharon Johnson at 1-800-763-0136.

Dennis Treacy, vice president of environmental, community and governmental affairs with Smithfield Foods Inc., predicts that more and more producers will develop an environmental management system.

"This is just a glimpse of the future," he said.