“Project Sunset”

Tyson Foods, Inc. announced plans to build a $320 million poultry processing plant near Tonganoxie, KS. Company officials said they hope to bring the plant into production in mid-2019, employing up to 1,600 people and processing as many as 1.25 million birds per week. The site would house a slaughterhouse, processing plant as well as a hatchery and feed mill. It also plans to contract with northeast Kansas farmers and ranchers who will raise the Tyson chickens in their own facilities in a 50-mile radius of the plant. “Project Sunset” is the name the project went by when the government officials were working on a non-disclosure agreement. 

The Impact to Tonganoxie & NE Kansas

Tyson Foods, Inc. is “one of the world’s largest producers of meat and poultry.” The company’s pollution footprint includes manure from its contract growers’ factory farm operations, fertilizer runoff from grain grown to feed the livestock it brings to market as meat, and waste from its processing plants. While comprehensive data on Tyson’s share of factory farm and fertilizer runoff require some calculation, the company is required to report pollution from its processing plants to U.S. EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). Tyson Foods Inc. and its subsidiaries dumped 104 million pounds of pollutants into waterways from 2010 to 2014 – the second highest volume of toxic discharges reported to TRI for those years. A substantial portion of Tyson’s discharges are nitrate compounds. Nitrates can contribute to algal blooms and dead zones, and also pose threats to human health, including “blue baby syndrome” for infants. For example, the city of Des Moines is currently treating its drinking water to remove excess nitrates from agribusiness pollution.

20 million pounds Tyson Foods, Inc. or its subsidiaries dumped more than 20 million pounds of pollution directly into our waterways in 2014 alone. This figure only includes pollutants reported to U.S. EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory, and does not include pollution from factory farms raising livestock for Tyson. Source: U.S. EPA Toxic Release Inventory.

Tyson interactive polution map

Information sourced from EnvironmentalAmerica.org – America’s Next Big Polluter: Corporate Agribusiness, Profile Tyson Foods