World’s Biggest Pork Producer Pledges To Cover Manure Ponds

Read the full story from NPR.

After years of insisting that it wasn’t economically feasible, the world’s biggest hog producer has bowed to public pressure and agreed to change the way it handles manure on more than 1,000 farms it controls in the U.S.

Smithfield Foods is promising to cover the manure ponds with a layer of plastic…

The covers won’t just keep water out and capture odors. They will capture a lot of methane, which is a powerful greenhouse gas. Smithfield will recover that gas and process it into the natural gas that is used commercially for heating and power. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, which has been working with Smithfield to reduce its environmental impact, this change could capture more than 85,000 metric tons of methane per year, which can replace the burning of other fossil fuels. Methane has the biggest heat-trapping impact right after it is released, and the EDF calculates that this will have the same immediate effect as eliminating the greenhouse emissions of 700,000 homes.

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