Joplin Globe, 12/14/05
Simmons: System removes pollution from poultry plant
Operation to produce animal-food additive from slaughter waste
By Linda Greer
Special to the Globe
SOUTHWEST CITY, Mo. - Five years after a demonstration in a pickle
jar atop a workbench, a scientist holds a patent on a system that
Simmons Foods Inc. managers say eliminates poultry-plant pollution.
Company Chairman Mark Simmons told visitors to the Southwest City
plant Tuesday that scientist John Lee's invention will eliminate the
odor and wastewater-disposal problems that plague poultry-processing plants.
"We've taken the waste to make a valuable product, a feed ingredient
for animals and fish," said Simmons.
Around 50 representatives of local governments, civic groups and
other poultry companies toured the plant to learn more Tuesday.
Lee, of Rigel Technology Corp., created a procedure that mixes
poultry-plant waste products, which are blood and skimmings, to make
a nutrient-rich substance resembling fine red sand that can be added
to agricultural and aquatic feed, said Simmons.
Simmons Foods patented the substance, naming it Pro-Cal for its high
protein and calories. The Pro-Cal plant, in a new $10 million
building, will begin operation in early 2006 on the Simmons site in
The project was slated to begin operation in late 2005 but was
delayed because of hurricanes, said Pro-Cal accounting manager Bill
Barnes. Some of the system equipment was made in Holland and England, he said.
"This is the only production facility in the United States today,"
said Gene Woods, president of Simmons protein operations. "We suspect
in a few years, there will be a lot more of them."
Woods began working with Lee in May 2001 to develop the process that
combines and dries the poultry waste products. In 2002, Simmons built
a pilot plant within the current plant. After hundreds of tests, the
final Pro-Cal product was achieved while eliminating odors and
wastewater, Woods said.
"Mark (Simmons) was adamant that we were not going to build a plant
where we couldn't control the odors or the contaminants," Woods said.
He said the operation incinerates odorous vapors and liquids.
Pro-Cal is marketed as a feed additive, and is being sold now to a
Kansas dairy feed mill and Fairland Feed Mill, which makes poultry
feed, said Terry Graham, Pro-Cal plant manager.
The product is about 48 percent protein and 35 percent fat, with a 6
percent moisture content. Graham said it can be fed safely to birds,
livestock and fish.
State Rep. Kevin Wilson, R-Neosho, said the plant opening is an
important event in his district. "Simmons," he said, "is trying to do
the right thing for the environment."
Southwest City Mayor Ryan McKee, also a Simmons electrician, said the
Pro-Cal operation will solve a lot of the complaints he hears about
plant odor and wastewater.
McDonald County Commissioners Gayle Brock and Bill Wilson also
expressed positive opinions of the project.
Brock, who raises hogs and cattle, said he is pro-industry, and he
views Pro-Cal as a good addition to the community and the county. He
said he predicts it won't be long until all area farmers are adding
the product to their feed.