adidas gazelle 2 Kansas officials answer fears about poultry plant
The following is a Q with Tyson Foods representative Worth Sparkman about the proposed poultry complex in southern Leavenworth County. The questions were submitted and answered via email, per the request of Tyson Foods. The text is presented in its entirety.
Q. Many are concerned about the smell of a poultry plant. How will Tyson Foods’ proposed complex maintain or better our current air quality in the neighboring communities?
A. Our plants and feed mills are governed by the requirements of the Clean Air Act. We work to meet environmental regulatory requirements including any regulations related to odor.
Q. How will the new complex maintain or better the current water quality of its neighbors? How will the water from the plant be treated and re used? Will waste run off find its way to other communities downstream? Will waste in any way affect, enter into or contaminate the area’s drinking water?
A. We use water so the food we produce is safe for consumers. Water is a critical natural resource that we work to preserve and protect. We have water management programs and employ experts to help us get better at how we use and manage water throughout our operations. Most of the water used to produce food is returned to streams and rivers after it’s been properly treated by wastewater treatment systems which are government regulated and permitted. In this case, we’ll collaborate closely with the state and federal agencies charged with the protection of water to develop permits designed to cover our uses, and those permits will inform the design of our wastewater treatment facility. More about how we work to be responsible uses of water is available at our sustainability report.
Q. From where do you anticipate recruiting future employees?
A. Our research says there are plenty of residents within a 30 minute drive of the location who would like to take advantage of our high wages and benefits to keep it fully staffed. A survey initiated by Leavenworth County supplied the following labor statistics: There is an available workforce of 1.2 million people within a 30 40 minute drive. Additionally, there about 37,000 people looking for jobs in the $10 to $15 per hour range within a 30 minute drive. We would hope to hire from as many local communities as possible, and we anticipate some Team Members will also commute. Tyson Foods’ hourly wages will range from $13 to $15 per hour with some skilled labor jobs paying more than $20 per hour.
Q. How will you monitor and ensure on the job safety of employees?
A. We commit to a goal of zero worker injuries and illnesses and will strive for a 15% year over year reduction company wide beginning this year. In fiscal 2016, we reduced our Total OSHA Recordable Incident Rate by 19.4%, compared to our fiscal 2015. Safety councils are in place at all plants and include hourly team members. Tyson will encourage the participation of hourly team members to be representative of the plant workforce at each facility including job categories, gender and demographics. Earlier this year, we announced additional initiatives to expand programs to support our employees.
Q. How will Tyson help the surrounding communities deal with resource shortfalls,
whether they be in additional classroom space in schools or city or county infrastructure needs?
A. We work to be a good neighbor in each community where we operate. Every community has different needs. We can’t speculate what needs Tonganoxie or Leavenworth County will have two years or more from now. We can tell you, however, that in most communities where we operate, our plant management live in the town and participate as citizens. They’re invested in the success of the community like all residents. In our 2016 fiscal year, we donated more than 9,600 pounds of food to help curb food insecurity in Kansas. In addition, we made more than $100,000 in charitable contributions and more than $150,000 in college scholarships to our team members and their family members.
Q. In terms of operation, how will this facility be different from other Tyson facilities in Kansas? How will it be the same?
A. This will be the first poultry complex Tyson Foods’ will operate in Kansas, so it will be different than all the rest. Tyson currently has six facilities in Kansas: one beef processing plant, one further processed beef plant,
three prepared foods facilities, and a distribution center. We have jobs located in Lyon, Finney, Reno, and Johnson counties. We employ around 5,770 team members in Kansas, and purchase cattle and hogs from 333 Kansas suppliers. Currently we have a statewide economic impact of around $2.46 billion. That number is calculated using wages, property and sales and use taxes, utilities, cattle and hog supplier pay, grain purchases, diesel,
charitable and food donations, and college scholarships.
Q. What will be the average wages of workers at the plant? Please give a sampling that delineates as much as possible among management, service, technicians, etc.
A. Hourly wages will range from $13 to $15 per hour with some skilled labor jobs paying more than $20 per hour. There will also be a significant number of high paying management jobs. Tyson Foods offers competitive pay, benefits, 401(k) and opportunity for advancement.
Q. It’s the understanding of many that Tyson Foods will utilize area poultry farms as suppliers of chickens. If this is true, how will you police and monitor those suppliers so they, too, are being environmentally responsible?
A. Those guidelines include required set back distances from residences, schools and churches. Tyson will also provide farmers with information on recommended best management practices designed to mitigate any potential odor issues.
Q. Tyson has paid a high amount of fines for environmental violations. How has the company also rectified the damages caused in cases where fines were levied or settlements were reached?
A. Each case is different, so if you’re interested in a specific matter,
please identify it and we’ll attempt to address it. In some cases where we have been fined there was no actual damage to the environment. When our actions have caused environmental harm, the resolution of those cases often include payments to cover the costs of any necessary remediation, compensation for the value of any lost or damaged resources, or funding for supplemental projects intended to prevent or reverse environmental harm.
Q. What guarantee does the surrounding community have that Tyson will be there in 20 or 30 years?
A. There are no guarantees in life or in business, but Tyson Foods has been in operation since 1935 and this location represents a part of our strategy to grow and sustain. This is a significant investment by our company to meet demand for one of the world’s most popular, affordable and sustainable proteins: chicken. With an annual worldwide growth in population of 1 percent, we see this plant as helping us keep that population fed.
Q. What arrangements, agreements or funds have you entered into, received or paid to the State of Kansas, Leavenworth County or the City of Tonganoxie or their representatives?
A. We had discussions with the Kansas Department of Commerce and hope to benefit from the programs available in Kansas. We plant to apply for benefits under the Job Creation Fund, Promoting Employment Across Kansas (PEAK), High Performance Incentive Program (HPIP). We have also been in discussions with Leavenworth County for a partial property tax abatement.
Q. Why was this a secret process up to now and why should people in this area trust the company to be transparent in its dealings?
A. Non disclosure agreements are standard operating business practices. As a publicly traded company,
we also use non disclosure agreements to help prevent potential market rumors and maintain the integrity of non public information until we are in a position to convey full and accurate information to our shareholders and the investing public.