GNP Co., the Midwest’s leading chicken producer of the Gold’n Plump and Just BARE chicken brands, earned the poultry industry’s highest environmental honor—the 2013 Clean Water Award from the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association. Winning in the full-treatment category, the award recognizes GNP Co.’s outstanding water treatment facilities and was announced at the association’s Environmental Management Conference on March 12, 2013.

Clean, safe and energy-efficient water treatment has been one of the company’s main areas of focus over the last several years. In July 2011, GNP Co. expanded and upgraded its existing water treatment facility at its Cold Spring, Minn., production plant. It now uses membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology, a state-of-the-art process that saves energy, resources and water. The Clean Water Award committee of the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association noted that GNP Co. is the only poultry company using the MBR technology and is also known to be the largest MBR system in the state of Minnesota. GNP Co.’s facility also uses the most energy efficient air blower system possible for additional environmental and economic preservation. 

“Our company is committed to preserving the viability and beauty of our natural landscape and resources.  The investment we made in our water treatment exemplifies that, and we’re honored to receive this award,” said Mike Helgeson, chief executive officer of GNP Co.

With the MBR process, GNP Co. captures and reuses about one-third of its daily water use, or 400,000 to 500,000 gallons of treated, reclaimed water in non-food contact areas. Ultraviolet disinfecting is used to treat all water and ultimately results in it being returned to the local Sauk River, significantly cleaner than the naturally occurring water in which it enters. This process also removes biological phosphorus and nitrogen by-products, a critical issue for fish and other organisms. Sand filtration is used in the process of treating reclaimed water. Overall, the cleaned water far exceeds industry standards and has no traceable odors. Solids remaining after water treatment are captured and used to make a premium compost product, putting important nutrients that would otherwise be wasted into the land. “Taking a holistic look at the entire process and where we can add value, while lessoning our impact on the environment, not only makes good business sense, it’s the right thing to do,” said Clay Watson, environmental manager and 30-year veteran of GNP Co.

“As our mission states, GNP Co. is dedicated to healthy food, families and farms. Producing high-quality chicken is one way we achieve that. Caring for the environment and serving our communities are equally valued,” added Helgeson.

In addition to this industry award, GNP Co.’s water treatment practices received accolades by the industry in feature articles in The National Provisioner and other publications. More information on GNP Co.'s corporate social responsibility initiatives is available in its annual Farm To Fork report at

Source: GNP Co.