From seed to table, consumers expect us to produce our crops in the most environmentally friendly way possible. We stand by our commitment to protect the environment we live and work in. We periodically reevaluate our business practices and research opportunities to minimize our environmental impact.
Reducing our Carbon Footprint
As a contributor to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP), we require every facility meet all Tier 4 standards for emission reductions in agriculture equipment. As a result, we have reduced the number of harvesters needed, and the farmers with whom we contract take proactive steps with no-till planting practices. In 2017, we introduced GPS in our pea harvesting equipment for the first time. This initiative resulted in a reduction of approximately 1.75 gallons of diesel fuel used per acre, or 10,000 gallons. By using GPS systems in the agricultural side of our business, we continue to reduce our carbon footprint by reducing greenhouse gas emissions with less diesel fuel being consumed.
Trains are one of the most efficient means of transport for our products. We have more than twenty frozen rail cars (Cryotrans) to ensure the most efficient movement of frozen product possible, and shelf-stable product is also moved by rail whenever possible.
Striving to Drive Greener
We recently leased nine natural gas tractor trailers and instituted a Midwest Fleet which replaced over 1 million miles of driving previously serviced by diesel trucks. Natural gas is currently the cleanest fuel available for long haul trucking operations.
As a continuing effort to improve, our Eastern Fleet has been upgraded from 2013/2015 tractors and trailers to 2018 Freightliner Cascadia Evolutions, pairing a DD15 engine with a DD12 automatic transmission to reduce fuel consumption. All of the new units are equipped with the Aero X aerodynamic package that reduces air drag to help increase MPG and help reduce our carbon foot print. APU (auxiliary power units) by Thermo King were also added to eliminate idling during down time. The Eastern Fleet also installed the Detroit Assurance Safety System which includes lane departure warning and distance warning. We have replaced our trailers with new utility trailers equipped with disc brakes to decrease brake fade as well as decrease stopping distance, with an added benefit of decreasing the weight of the trailers. Our Eastern Fleet has also added the ECO-Stinger to our trailers to improve aerodynamics and fuel economy.
All of our 28 tractor trailers in the Western Fleet were just upgraded from 2016 Freightliner Cascadia Evolution tractors to 2020 Freightliner Cascadias using the Aero Package. All tractors carry the factory certificate as Certified Clean idle on the DD15 and the Thermo King Tri-pack APU units. Another great feature is a Teflon plate on the fifth wheel connection, eliminating the need for grease.
Forklift LP Reduction
We have taken strides in reducing emissions by replacing our propane lift trucks with electric lift trucks. Since 2007, we have more than doubled our number of electric trucks and reduced the number of propane trucks in the same time period. We successfully reached our initial goal of having more electric than propane by 2016, but we continue to invest in the most efficient technologies.
More Efficient Water Usage
Seneca understands that water is a valuable resource and needs to be protected. Our grower partners are taking proactive measures in reducing water usage by converting nearly all high-pressure irrigation systems to low-pressure for less evapotranspiration and energy use. Several of our growers are also using soil probes to reduce water use.
As an incentive to reduce water usage and recycle wastewater for manufacturing and agricultural irrigation, Seneca rewards plants that lower water usage on an annual basis. Installation of a water management system and reverse osmosis units allows us to send unused production water to irrigation and reduce energy costs by increasing the efficiency of steam generation.
Attention to Detail
We know there's always room for improvement, so we have practices in place to continuously review and look for new opportunities to improve our efficiency. Our green hinge systems have greatly reduced the amount of heat lost to the atmosphere on our warehouse doors by effectively holding the doors tighter and creating a good seal that reduces our natural gas consumption.
Our warehouses have zoned occupancy sensors to reduce the amount of time lights are on in any particular area. We currently have 7.9 million Sq. Ft. under energy efficient lighting, including offices, production and warehouses.
During 2020 we saved $698,000 by implementing energy savings projects in our facilities.
Environmental Achievements & Awards
- Anaerobic digesters installed at facilities in Montgomery, MN and Janesville, WI
- 31% less water usage per case
- 32% less generated waste per case
- Yakima, WA facility: 100% wastewater compliance from City of Yakima (2013-2017, 2019-2020)
- Montgomery, MN facility: Certificate of Commendation for outstanding operation of a waste water facility (2014-2016, 2018-2020)
- Blue Earth, MN facility: Certificate of Commendation for outstanding operation of a waste water facility (2014-2019)