Smithfield Foods

Kraig Westerbeek, vice president of Smithfield Renewables and Joe Birschbach of Cardinal Bio-Energy

Cardinal Bio-Energy, Smithfield withdraw plan for swine gas operations in Northampton County

BY: - May 15, 2023

Smithfield Foods and its affiliate Cardinal Bio-Energy have withdrawn their application to build two large swine gas projects in Northampton County, according to emails obtained by NC Newsline. The companies had applied to county officials for a special use permit that would have allowed them to install methane capture systems at several Smithfield-owned facilities: on Spud’s […]

hog farm

Hog industry plans major new biogas project in Robeson County, but details are elusive

BY: - April 24, 2023

In any given year, roughly 300,000 hogs are born, weaned, fattened and slaughtered in Robeson County. During their short lifetimes, the animals excrete about 333 million gallons of feces and urine that percolates in open-air lagoons. The rancid cesspools and vast fields where the waste is sprayed are poorly suited for the terrain. Dimpled with […]

An aerial view of the Chemours plant

New EPA data shows NC released 59 million pounds of toxic chemicals in 2021, ranks 17th in US

BY: - April 12, 2023

More than 59 million pounds of toxic chemicals were released into the environment in North Carolina in 2021, according to new EPA data, the largest amount since 2015. Averaged across the state, that amount is equivalent to 1,046 pounds per square mile. The 2021 “Toxics Release Inventory” tracks discharges and emissions of nearly 800 harmful […]

One-word change in Farm Act could increase greenhouse gas emissions from hog farms

BY: - April 10, 2023

A one-word change in the Farm Act could allow hog farmers to capture methane from their waste lagoons, but choose not to use the gas for energy. Instead, the farmer could merely send the potent greenhouse gas through a flare and into the air. Current law allows for methane to be collected from the farms […]

Key questions unanswered as Smithfield Foods unveils new plan to capture hog farm methane

BY: - March 21, 2023

Giant pork producer asks Northamption County officials to sign off on proposal that would transport gas to Virginia, but declines to disclose key details Smithfield Foods and its affiliate Cardinal Bio-Energy plan to build two large swine gas projects in Northampton County and inject the gas into the Transco Pipeline, which will carry it out of the state and into Virginia.

Renewables company could transform how millions of tons of hog waste are managed in NC

BY: - April 5, 2022

Montauk Ag Renewable has test site in Duplin County and plans to operate plant in Sampson County, but will it work? Outside a large steel barn in Magnolia, Martin Redeker scooped loads of dried hog waste, composted with carbon, onto a snow shovel for anyone to take a deep whiff.  It smelled. 


Although forever optimists, family farmers are fighting for a future

BY: - February 23, 2022

Even though the cards are often stacked against us, farmers are the ultimate optimists. I’m a 4th generation cattle and grain farmer, and, right now, I’m optimistic that, for the first time since Teddy Roosevelt with the Packer and Stockers Act of 1921, we have a president that is trying to take on corporate control […]

EPA launches civil rights inquiry into DEQ’s permitting of biogas systems on hog farms

BY: - January 14, 2022

The Environmental Protection Agency is opening an investigation into whether state regulators violated civil rights law when last spring, they granted permits to four industrialized hog farms that are installing anaerobic digesters to produce biogas for renewable energy. The investigation is in response to a complaint against the NC Department of Environmental Quality filed by […]

In role as judge, Donald van der Vaart rules on behalf of DEQ, hog farms and against enviro groups

BY: - January 12, 2022

The NC Department of Environmental Quality was legally right to allow industrialized hog farms to install equipment on their waste lagoons — known as anaerobic digesters — to generate biogas, the state’s chief administrative law judge ruled today. The judge: former DEQ Secretary Donald van der Vaart, appointed to the post by State Supreme Court […]

PFAS, climate change, mining and hazardous waste: 2022 will be another critical year for the environment in North Carolina

BY: - January 3, 2022

On the first day of 2022, the neighbors’ air conditioners were running. The temperature at Raleigh-Durham International Airport hit 78 degrees, a record for the date; at 1:51 p.m. the high humidity even produced a heat index of 79. A heat index. In January.

Court of Appeals rules NC lawmakers were within their authority to all but outlaw hog nuisance lawsuits

BY: - December 21, 2021

A three-judge panel from the state Court of Appeals unanimously ruled against an environmental justice group today, deciding that North Carolina legislature had the authority to make it difficult, if not impossible, for people to sue hog farms for nuisance.

House passes Farm Act, which will fast-track controversial biogas projects

BY: - June 25, 2021

Rep. Jimmy Dixon calls agriculture "a whipping boy," says opposition is unfair Mt. Zion AME Church sits a ways off the road, flanked by farm fields near the Sampson County town of Magnolia. The small brick church, whose congregation is predominantly Black, is 100 years old. But its drinking water well is new.