Premium Standard Farms announced Wednesday that it is well ahead of schedule on the installation of Next Generation Technology at its farms in north Missouri. The company continues to work toward completing all installations by July 31, 2012, the agreed-upon deadline with the state of Missouri.

As of Dec. 31, 2010, Premium Standard Farms said it has installed Next Generation Technology in 80 of its hog barns, which is 32 more than what was called for by the 2010 end-of-year timeline.

"I'm proud to say that as of the end of 2010, the Next Generation Technology installation is well ahead of schedule," said Bill Homann, president of Premium Standard Farms.

Homann pointed out that the company is looking forward to the day when "we complete the work we've been committed to since 1999: Installing Next Generation Technology that will help improve the quality of life for all of our friends, families and everyone who calls north Missouri home."

Premium Standard Farms already has spent about $40 million implementing improved environmental technologies, including lagoon covers, treatment facilities, and land application technologies, equipment and practices that are among the most advanced in the U.S.

In an agreement reached last September with Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, and approved by Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Robert M. Schieber, Premium Standard Farms agreed to a two-year timeline to fulfill the 2004 court-sanctioned consent judgment that had originally required the company to install Next Generation Technology at several of its farms by July 31, 2010.

Premium Standard Farms had petitioned the court last July for a two-year extension of the deadline, noting that the final technologies-barn scrapers and the Sustainable Technology System (STS)-had only been approved by the court-appointed Management Advisory Team in late April 2010. The company said the delay in receiving approval of the state-of-the-art technology didn't allow enough time to complete the installation by the deadline.

The agreement reached with the attorney general called for Premium Standard Farms to install barn scrapers in 48 barns by Dec. 31, 2010, then in at least 136 barns by July 31, 2011, and in 230 barns by Dec. 31, 2011. The company is scheduled to finish installing barn scraper systems by July 31, 2012, in all 366 Class 1A barns.

Premium Standard Farms, LLC is an independent operating company of Smithfield Foods, Inc. As a member of the Smithfield family of companies, Premium Standard Farms produces consistent, high-quality pork products for a variety of markets and is a recognized leader in environmental stewardship and technology innovation. Premium Standard Farms, LLC has approximately 1,100 employees working on farms in Missouri.

Source: Premium Standard Farms news release