Local Groups Sign Open Letter Calling on Tyson CEO to Fulfill Sustainability Promises

Sydney Jones

Press Secretary

[email protected]

Carole Mitchell

Sr. Director Communications

[email protected]

October, 2017– Over 230 local business, farmer, environmental, and community groups from across the country have joined the nation-wide campaign to hold America’s largest meat company accountable for the water pollution affecting their communities. The groups, whose members represent communities from the Heartland to the Gulf, have released an open letter calling on the CEO of Tyson Foods to fulfil sustainability promises by making a clear commitment to reduce water pollution caused by the company’s supply chain.

“Americans should not have to choose between producing food and having healthy clean water” said Lucia von Reusner, Campaign Director for Mighty Earth. “Our nation’s largest meat companies shape our food system on a massive scale, and can implement the solutions needed to keep our waters clean.”

The coalition launch comes in response to a report released earlier this summer from Mighty Earth linking America’s biggest meat companies to the largest Dead Zone on record in the Gulf of Mexico, in addition to a variety of other environmental and public health issues in the U.S. A recent analysis of America’s tap water quality found that over 17 million Americans are exposed to unsafe levels of carcinogens from agricultural pollution in their drinking water.

The meat industry is the main source of water pollution in the United States. The bulk of this pollution comes from growing the vast quantities of animal feed used to raise meat, and the pollution washing off poorly managed fields is “one of America’s most widespread, costly, and challenging environmental problems,” according to a report from the EPA.

Mighty Earth’s report identified Tyson Foods as the company most responsible for driving the practices causing this pollution, given its dominant position as America’s largest meat company and expansive footprint in all regions of the country most affected by agricultural run-off pollution. Tyson’s new CEO Tom Hayes has pledged to ‘show how much good food can do’ and ‘place sustainability at the center of the company’s future plans’. The letter is calling on Tom Hayes to fulfil those promises with a clear commitment to reducing water pollution.

The full letter and list of signatories is included below. Local news outlets covered the release of the letter- for example, coverage in ABC Local news in Iowa includes CEO of Des Moines Waterworks, which has attracted national attention for the high levels of agricultural pollution it has been forced to treat.


Tom Hayes, Chief Executive Officer
Tyson Foods, Inc.
2200 W. Don Tyson Parkway
Springdale, AR 72762

Dear Mr. Hayes,

As representatives of organizations whose members are affected by the pollution driven by Tyson’s meat production here in the United States, we are writing to encourage your company to adopt more sustainable practices throughout its supply chain that reduce water pollution and protect our natural landscapes. In its position as the nation’s largest meat company, Tyson Foods has a unique opportunity to reduce the environmental consequences of meat and lead the industry towards better farming practices.

There is a need for rapid action: the meat industry, including its feed supply, is the main source of water pollution in the United States. Pollution from raising meat is contaminating drinking water across the Midwest, and flowing downstream along the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico where it causes a massive dead zone every summer- an area so polluted that marine life cannot survive. The bulk of this pollution comes from the vast quantities of animal feed produced to raise meat, and are a result of practices driving high soil erosion rates, loss of natural landscape buffers, and excess fertilizer application.

This year, the runoff pollution reached such levels that the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico was the largest on record, due in large measure to Tyson and other companies’ continued tolerance of substandard practices in their supply chains. Fortunately, solutions are available to reduce meat’s environmental impact through better feed sourcing practices, which need to be rapidly implemented to prevent this disaster from recurring.

We hope you will immediately announce a sustainable agriculture policy that ensures all of your suppliers adhere to the following best practices for responsible feed production and sourcing:

  •    Cover cropping and conservation tillage practices to prevent soil erosion,
  •    Protecting and restoring natural landscape buffers to absorb runoff,
  •    Optimizing fertilizer application to prevent excess runoff,
  •    Incorporation of rotationally-raised small grains into the feed rotations
  •    A moratorium on further clearance of native ecosystems such as the iconic American prairie

You have pledged to “place sustainability at the center of the company’s future plans” and show “how much good food can do.” We applaud these statements, and believe a commitment to ensuring feed is sustainably sourced is crucial for demonstrating the company’s ambition.

As the nation’s largest meat company, Tyson Foods has a key role to play in keeping our waters clean and our soils healthy. Please advise us by November 17, 2017 on how Tyson Foods will address the urgent environmental and public health impacts from its supply chain, and lead the industry towards a more sustainable path forward.


Dallas, TX
Be Raw
Dallas Sierra Club
Texas Campaign for the Environment
Bois d’Arc Meat Company
Chelles Macarons
The Caribbean Cabana
Taboo Tattoo
Armoury D.E.
First Unitarian Church Climate Action Team
R. C. Rogers
Dragon’s Snacks
Sureshort Visuals
Push Yourself Through
Heat Roc Nation
Made With Love Market
White Rock Granola
MaDear’s Jellies
Yiayia’s Greek Bakery
Williams Farm
Texas Hill Country Olive Country
Rockin Jr Ranch
Good Water
Simple Splendor Sauces
Samco World Imports
Tilly’s Old Fashion
Meat Maniac
Perky Pickles
Energy Gardens Terrariums LLC
Reclaimed Wood Designs
The Plain Ole Salsa Company
Brags Farms
Jordan Cordori Industries
Paisley Farms
Companion Roasters
Kaitlyn’s Styles
SMU Environmental Society
Garden Cafe
Noble Rey Brewing Company
UTD Sustainability Club
GROW North Texas
Heddin Family Farms
The Green Room
Hide Bar
Piney Woods Farm Alliance
Indigenous Roots
Timothy’s Tasty Organic Lemonade
Native Trashion
Elliott Grows LLC
Hartrickson Family Farm
Arlington Conservation Council
Society of Native Nations
Systems Change not Climate Change
Helping Hands Medical Clinic

Chicago, IL
Phayes Men
Cloud Vapor Lounge
Chicago Honey Co-op
Wolf Bait and B-Girls
Crate Free Illinois
Patch Work Farmes
Mint Creek Farm
Closed Loop Farms
Prairie Rivers Network
Midwest Pesticide Action Network
Environment America
Sandbox Organics Farm
Chillinois Young Farmers
Modern Grill
Ricci Kapricci Salon
North Halsted Dental Spa
Horizon Cafe
Anton’s Barber Shop
Nearly New Bikes
Klein’s Bakery
Bourgieous Pig Cafe
Sir and Madame
Sip and Savor
The Silver Room
Jefferey Dollar
Jojayden Handmade
Rajun Cajun
The Silver Umbrella
350 Chicago
Illinois Stewardship Alliance
Community Dining
Sagano Sushi
Spilt Milk Pastry
George’s Restaurant
L!VE Cafe
Citrine Cafe
Geppetto’s Oak Park
2 Amigos
Furious Spoon
Damn Fine Coffee Bar
El Condor
Hairitics Dye for Your Beliefs
Sugar Beet Co-op
The Urban Canopy
The Wright Way Farm, LLC
Nichols Farm and Orchard
Family Farmed

New Orleans, LA
The Bike Shop
Midway Pizza
Good Bird
Freret Beer Room
Piccola Gelateria
St. Lawrence
Earth Odyssey
J and M Jewelry
Tulane Green Club
The Daily Beet
LA Shrimper’s Association
Drip Affogato Bar
Freda New Orleans
Southern United Neighborhoods
Allie’s Natural Hair Community
Harley London
New Orleans Food & Farm Network
Kaya Swamp Tours
GrowOn Urban Farm
9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement & Development
A Community Voice
350.org – NOLA chapter
Fair Grinds Coffeehouse
ACORN International
Gulf Restoration Network

Fayetteville, AR
Omni Center
NWA Labor Council
Arkansas Sierra Club
White River Waterkeepers
Buffalo River Watershed Alliance
Northwest Arkansas Emerging Leaders
Ozark River Stewards
Puritan Coffee & Beer
Dirty Apron Bake House
French Metro Antiques
Morning Star Zen Center
Nomads Fayetteville
Heart and Wrench
Nu Fangled Images
Sun Sugar Farms
Barkansas Life
Flora & Fauna
Hustlewood LLC
Ozark Apothecary
Peacock Pigments
Mountain Greenery
Huddle on Forest

Omaha, NE
GC Resolve
Nebraska Communities United
Nebraskans for Peace
Omaha Together One Community – Environmental Sustainability Action Team
Indivisible Omaha
Omaha Permaculture
Douglas County Farmers Union
Pharmacy Express, Omaha
The Gourmet Granola
Nolis Pizzeria
Barley Street Tavern
Star Deli
Jake’s Cigars
Full House Bar
Clifford Cycles
Krug Park
Burrito Envy
Premier Therapy
Benson Brewery
The Sydney
Omaha Bicycle Co.
Drastic Plastic Clothing
13th Street Coffee
Ted & Wally’s Ice Cream
Krazy Woman Orchard
Lauren Beths Popcorn
Copin Designs

Kansas City, MO
Exploring Roots
Red Ridge Farm
Sacred Sun Cooperative Farm
Mama Linda’a LLC
Syntax Land Design, LLC
Inkwell Cafe
ReRuns Vintage
Mid Coast Modern
Frame Works
Pink Pony Farms
MM Farms
Heartland Conservation Alliance
Green Room Burgers and Beer
Midwest Cyclery
Novus Escape Room
Automan Autoplaza
Endicott Salon
Westport Hookah
Design in the City
5B&Co Candlemakers

Des Moines, IA
Optimal Lifeservices (Plain Talk Books)
Fontenelle Supply Co.
Artisan’s Jewelry Designs
Blue Planet Groupe
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Des Moines
HOQ Restaurant
Bruce Owen Jewelry
American Plumbing Supply
Porch Light
Locally Grown Clothing Co
Green Goods
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
Grade A Gardens
Lost Lake Farm
Nomad Farm & Gardens
Boone County Organics
Peep Toe
Teresa Kitchen Collage
The Continental Inc
Urban Ambassadors

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