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Innovating Smart,
Responsible Agriculture

Goals

Be a leader in animal welfare through research, innovation and transparent communication
Support improved sustainable land stewardship practices on 2 million corn acres by year-end 2020
Address deforestation in our supply chain
Strengthen farmer resilience by supporting best practices that improve yields, soil health, environmental outputs and farm profits

FY2020 By-the-Numbers

Key Welfare Indicators1

Broilers 2018 2019 2020
Transport Livability 99.8% 99.9% 99.9%
Non-Damaged Wings 98.9% 98.8% 98.9%
Acceptable Paw Scores 78.0% 81.0% 82.8%
Cattle and Hogs 2018 2019 2020
No Falls 99.2% 99.9% 99.9%
Not Prodded 99.2% 99.3% 99.9%
Acceptable Wait Times 94.0% 96.8% 97.4%
  1. Metrics based on U.S. operations. Percent acceptable as audited against NCC Welfare Guidelines for Broilers or NAMI Recommended Animal Handling Guidelines (September 2019 Rev. 2) for cattle and hogs.

Overall Third-Party Audit Outcomes (average score) by Supply Chain

Poultry
2018-2020

Bar chart showing Tyson Foods' yearly overall third-party audit outcomes for poultry

Cattle
2018-2020

Bar chart showing Tyson Foods' yearly overall third-party audit outcomes for cattle

Hogs
2018-2020

Bar chart showing Tyson Foods' yearly overall third-party audit outcomes for hogs

Land Stewardship

  • Goal: Support improved environmental practices on 2 million acres of corn by the end of 2020.
  • 419,000 Acres 2020
  • 408,000 Acres2 2019
  1. This 408,000 acres represent those originally enrolled by Farmers Business Network in the land stewardship pilot in 2019. The MyFarms pilot enrolled 11,000 acres in the pilot in 2019. Due to lack of data, the 11,000 acres were removed from the pilot in 2020.

Throughout our history, we have always found newer, better ways to feed people responsibly, and we’re on a journey to find new ways to do so in the future through innovative, responsible agriculture. This means helping build a food system that is compassionate to animals, ensures farmers thrive and can support all people while sustaining our planet. Today, we supply more than protein; through our research, innovation and hard work, we are solving for a sustainable future of food.

Key Achievements

1

Became the first company to receive audit certification for all poultry audit tools across our U.S. Tyson Foods vertically integrated supply chain from the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO®) by adding Broiler-Breeder and Turkey audit tools

2

Assessed deforestation risks and launched a Forest Protection Standard focused on reducing deforestation risk in Tyson Foods’ cattle and beef; soy; palm oil; and pulp, paper and packaging supply chains

3

Established an internal Global Animal Welfare Council, which brings together the best animal welfare minds in the company to develop a One Tyson approach across all animal welfare practices and initiatives

4

Became the first U.S. food company to announce work to verify sustainable production practices at scale in our beef supply chain through the BeefCARE™ program

5

Began benchmarking international key welfare indicators and third-party audits in Tyson Foods-owned facilities in China and Thailand

6

Achieved target of 100% of all cattle haulers being Beef Quality Assurance Transportation certified to haul into Tyson Foods beef harvest facilities

7

Piloted remote third-party welfare audits due to COVID-19 global pandemic constraints

8

Completed first Global Welfare Assessment of all poultry, beef and pork supply chains

9

Became a member of the Global Coalition for Animal Welfare, the world’s first food industry-led initiative aimed at advancing animal welfare globally

10

Provided PAACO® training to 100% of our animal welfare team

11

Continued to engage in the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry and Eggs and the International Poultry Welfare Alliance

12

Recognized by the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) for Tyson Foods’ FarmCheck® and Fresh Meats Sustainability programs

Stories of Progress

While Tyson Foods doesn’t own grain farms, we are the U.S. industry’s largest purchaser of feed corn. This corn is used to feed poultry, as well as the cattle and pigs raised by independent farmers and ranchers. Since grain production is part of our supply chain and is a significant contributor to our overall carbon footprint, we set a goal to improve land stewardship practices on 2 million acres of row crop corn—the largest target ever set by a U.S. protein company—by the end of 2020.

With our partners at Environmental Defense Fund and Farmers Business Network, we provide technical and agronomic assistance to help improve row crop corn yield, with a goal of maximizing positive environmental outcomes. This also helps farmers meet increasing consumer demand for more sustainably grown food. We enrolled 419,000 acres of farmland in the first year of the program and reported baseline data on nutrient use efficiency and tillage practices in our FY2019 sustainability report. Our pilot with MyFarms faced challenges in collecting the necessary farm-level data and has therefore been discontinued, thus removing 11,000 acres from the pilot. Data from years 2019 and 2020 are illustrated in the charts to the right.

Challenges with the MyFarms pilot and interruptions related to the COVID-19 global pandemic hindered our ability to scale our land stewardship work in 2020. Given those setbacks, we are reassessing our options and developing a plan to fulfill our 2 million acre target.

Pounds of Nitrogen Used Per Bushel of Corn
lbs N/bushel

Distribution of
Tillage Practices
Percentage of Acres

The expansion of our international footprint in recent years has resulted in the need to reassess the risk of deforestation across our operations and supply chain. That’s why, in October 2019, we engaged PROFOREST to help conduct a deforestation risk assessment across our global agricultural supply chain, focusing on four commodities—cattle and beef; palm oil; soy; and pulp, paper and packaging.

The assessment concluded that 94% of our land footprint is at no-to-low risk of being associated with deforestation. Of the remaining 6%, approximately 3% is at medium-to-high risk, and the sourcing origin could not be identified for the other 3%. The charts at left illustrate the risk by commodity.

To proactively address the 6% at risk, we developed and publicly released a Forest Protection Standard, which outlines steps we will take to continue minimizing deforestation risk and protect the forests in the geographies where we source. These steps include:

  • Developing and implementing specific Commodity Action Plans detailing the work required in each of our four commodity areas to support deforestation-free sourcing.
  • Establishing and communicating supply partner expectations for fulfilling the requirements of our Forest Protection Standard by the timelines embedded in each Commodity Action Plan.
  • Working with our suppliers to determine the source origin of the unknown volumes identified in the risk assessment.

Deforestation Risk by Commodity

Cattle & Beef

  • LOW RISK 98%
  • HIGH RISK 2%
  • UNKNOWN 0%

Soy

  • LOW RISK 78%
  • HIGH RISK 9%
  • UNKNOWN 13%

Forest Products

  • LOW RISK 63%
  • HIGH RISK 0%
  • UNKNOWN 37%

Palm Oil

  • LOW RISK 0%
  • HIGH RISK 14%
  • UNKNOWN 86%

The Tyson Foods Center for Sustainable Broiler Welfare Research includes two proprietary research farms—the Poultry Concept Farm and the Tyson Broiler Welfare Research Farm. At the latter, we study key aspects of broiler chicken welfare, by creating environments in which the chickens can express their preference to specific environmental components like enrichments. We use a science-based approach to evaluate the impact of these different choices on measurable outcomes of animal welfare and health, such as behavior and key indicators. We have collaborated with the University of Arkansas on this research, which was funded through a grant provided by the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association.

We are also partnering with four external research and innovation groups to develop automated monitoring tools that precisely assess broiler chicken welfare outcomes through a SMART Broiler grant provided by the Foundation for Food & Agriculture and McDonald’s Corporation.

At our Poultry Concept Farm, we research better outcomes for birds, food safety and the environment. The farm acts as an integrated research hub that facilitates collaboration across functions that are studying animal health and welfare, animal husbandry, the environment and workplace safety. This integrated approach enables all of our focus areas to work together to improve the sustainability of poultry production.

In FY2020 we became the first company to receive third-party certification by the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO®) for all poultry audits across our internal U.S. supply chain. This means that our entire suite of FarmCheck® poultry audits—broilers, broiler breeders and turkey—is now certified.

Tyson Foods is one of the first major U.S. food companies to work with Where Food Comes From, Inc. to verify sustainable production practices at scale in its beef supply chain through the Where Food Comes From BeefCARE™ program, an industry-leading sustainability verification program for cattle ranchers. The program includes standard criteria for animal care, environmental stewardship, and people and community, which are verified through annual on-site, third-party audits.

More than 350 ranches are currently enrolled in the Where Food Comes From BeefCARE™ program, with plans to expand the program over the next several years. Tyson Foods has committed to buying BeefCARE™ approved cattle as part of our commitment to verify sustainable production practices on more than 5 million acres of cattle grazing land in the U.S. The program is recognized by the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. In addition, Tyson Foods collaborated with The Nature Conservancy to evaluate and provide recommendations to the environmental components of the BeefCARE™ program.

Producers in the program work to maintain or improve water availability and quality in each grazing area and provide contingency plans for drought, to prevent/reduce soil erosion, maximize forage and pasture roughage yields, promote vegetative diversity and control invasive and noxious weeds, all of which support carbon sequestration or build soil carbon.

The BeefCARE™ audit scoring system gives producers an avenue to work toward continuous improvement. Working with BeefCARE™ certified producers helps Tyson Foods ensure sustainable production practices are being employed and verified.

Sustainable beef, however, isn’t new at Tyson Foods. In FY2020 the U.S. Roundtable on Sustainable Beef also recognized three Tyson Foods programs for their alignment with the U.S. Beef Industry Sustainability Framework. The recognition applies to processing facilities under the Tyson Fresh Meats sustainability program as well as to auction market and feed yard partners under the Tyson FarmCheck® program. We also continued with the success of our Progressive Beef™ program, a comprehensive quality management system designed for cattle feeding operations that sell to companies like Tyson Foods. In 2020, we bought approximately 4.3 million cattle in the Progressive Beef™ program. By the end of 2021, the third year of this program, we plan to increase this to approximately 4.7 million cattle, representing 75% of our total cattle purchases.

In FY2020, we continued to engage in multistakeholder efforts focused on key areas such as social and environmental sustainability, responsible antibiotic usage and animal welfare. Collaborative efforts with groups such as the International Consortium on Antimicrobial Stewardship in Agriculture, International Poultry Welfare Alliance, Global Coalition for Animal Welfare, Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef and U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry and Eggs help foster dialogue that can drive continuous improvement in animal agriculture at scale.

Our team of dedicated animal welfare specialists work every day to drive continuous improvement in animal welfare. Specialists in our Fresh Meats organization pursue continuous improvement through innovations that not only directly impact the welfare of animals today, but anticipate future environmental challenges.

For example, during hot summer months it’s important to keep animals cool and comfortable to minimize heat stress. Historically, our Dakota City beef and Storm Lake pork facilities used high-volume sprinkler systems that resulted in significant water use and only offered minimal cooling for the animals. The animal welfare specialists at these locations took on the task of researching more effective and sustainable cooling methods. They discovered that fabricating and installing an experimental misting system forces water through very small nozzles to create a fine mist or fog. As the droplets of water evaporate, the surrounding air cools immediately.

Their research concluded low-volume/high-pressure misters are a viable alternative to high-volume sprinklers. Both locations confirmed animals prefer the misting system to the sprinklers, as evidenced by their moving toward the misters and trying to stay out of range of sprinklers.

To ensure that we advance progress in animal welfare through our research, we evaluate animal-based behavioral and physiologic outcomes.

“Chickens have a very different perception of the world, and it is important that we respect that when we are making decisions for them,” says Dr. Karen Christensen, Senior Director of Animal Welfare, Tyson Foods. “Through their actions, they tell us loud and clear what they want—we just have to know how to listen.”

That’s why the cornerstone of our broiler chicken house lighting research is a ‘choice’ lighting scheme that provides the birds with bright light over the feeders and a gradient of light in the other areas of the house. This allows the birds to choose the light intensity they prefer after eating.

We have used the same approach in evaluating different types of environmental enrichments within the broiler house so that we can better understand which types of enrichments the birds engage with the most. Looking ahead, we will apply this approach to other top poultry, pork and beef welfare research priorities.

Poultry
2018-2020

Cattle
2018-2020

Hogs
2018-2020

Pounds of Nitrogen Used Per Bushel of Corn
lbs N/bushel

Distribution of
Tillage Practices
Percentage of Acres