Sustainability

Our Approach to Our Products, the Planet and People

Sustainability is our focus.

Farming and Processing

  • Implemented pivot irrigation to use less water than regular sprinkler or furrow irrigation
  • Operates under the U.S. Department of Agriculture Good Agricultural Practices program
  • Manages soil with crop rotation and cover crops
  • Emissions controls on motorized equipment
  • All the farms utilize an extensive natural compost program to reduce the use of synthetic fertilizers and to provide organic matter to the soil.
  • We utilize a strict 4 year crop rotation plan to reduce plant disease pressure thereby reducing the amount of pesticides used.
  • We employ a full time staff Agronomist to manage soil and plant testing programs in order to control and reduce the use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers as much as possible. They monitor all usage of fertilizers and pesticides to assure accurate and timely applications only as necessary to produce top quality produce for our customers.
  • We employ BMP’s: USDA Inspected and Primus GAP Certified on the farms and processing facilities with a Superior Rating. We are audited annually by Primus as well as regular self inspections and audits of packing facilities, storages, and farms for customer requested food safety programs. We do not use any GMO products of any kind on the farm or in the products we produce.

Water Conservation

  • Center pivot irrigation systems utilize 3 way reduced flow sprinkler nozzle technology to conserve and reduce water usage, reduce evaporation losses, and insure precise and uniform water application. Water consumption is reduced from 28% to 40% depending on the seasonal demands. 
  • Center pivot sprinkler systems and pumps are GPS equipped which allows remote control by computers to start, adjust, and stop the systems including center pivots, main pumps, and booster pumps. This greatly reduces the number of trips to the fields and pump stations and reduces the fleet of vehicles required to operate the system. 
  • Variable frequency drives on the irrigation pump systems reduce electrical consumption by an estimated 2 million KWH per season for the entire farm.

Energy

  • Implemented energy-efficient practices and technology to minimize use of fossil fuels and reduce our carbon footprint
  • Converted to energy-saving lighting throughout our facilities
  • Improved energy efficiency of high-volume air conditioning and compressed air systems
  • All farm and processing facilities utilize low energy lighting systems to reduce electrical consumption.
  • Variable Frequency drives on all farm storage air, heating, and refrigeration systems reduce electrical consumption by as much as 25%. 
  • We utilize water application through the irrigation systems for fertilizers and pesticides whenever possible to reduce and eliminate equipment trips through the fields to reduce fuel consumption. 
  • Our tractors are GPS equipped to assure precise and efficient planting and cultivating processes which conserve seed, fertilizer, and fuel consumption.
  • We own and maintain a large network of farm roads of over 50 miles to reduce truck and equipment traffic on public roads by 80% and to reduce fuel consumption. 
  • Sunset Produce installed the latest technology in infra-red/laser detection systems which scan for internal defects allowing us to eliminate defects that we cannot see and cannot grade. The results are more efficient operations and reduced freight and fuel costs to customers and consumers for products. Our customers can be assured they are receiving the highest quality possible to provide to their customers and enhances the efficiency of their operations.
  • We maintain on farm bulk storage for direct truck delivery from the river barge system and railroads for fertilizer and chemicals to reduce truck traffic on public roadways. 

Food Safety

  • Participant in the USDA inspection and food safety management program.
  • Third-party food safety auditors include USDA, Primus and SQF.
  • Adhere to industry-wide Good Agricultural Practices by staging monthly self audits and an annual, intensive three-day, third-party audit.
  • Use an electronic recall program to stage mock recalls.
  • We utilize modern automated palletizing equipment to reduce risk of employee injuries and loss of production time.
  • Sunset Produce provides regularly scheduled training for Food Safety and Equipment Safety.
Recycling

  • Properly recycle all light bulbs and batteries to prevent landfill and atmospheric contamination.
  • Recycle all cardboard and product damaged in operations.
  • Recycle waste onions not packed as livestock feed, livestock waste created as a compost to feed back into the soil.
  • Recycle damaged pallets as well as all wood supplies.