Grimmway: Energy and Climate for California Farming Operations

Meet Greener Fields Together National Farms Partner:

In 1968, the Grimm brothers began nurturing their family business in the fertile soil of the southern San Joaquin Valley in Central California. Today, Grimmway farms more than 44,000 acres throughout California, and operates 12 packing and processing facilities. Grimmway grows more than half of the carrots produced in California, moving 10 million pounds a day from the field through its processing facilities, then to its final retail destinations.

5Ps Verified Case Study:  Energy and Climate
As part of its commitment to creating a balance between social, environmental, and economic gains, Grimmway Farms is reducing its fuel use and air emissions across its California farming operations. Over the past five years, Grimmway has focused its efforts to grow and harvest crops using the newest energy technologies and innovations available.  SureHarvest has documented and verified Grimmway’s farm energy conservation efforts using the 5Ps of Sustainability™

Sustainability Highlights
Grimmway innovates and adopts sustainable practices as part of its core strategy to remain competitive in an ever-changing marketplace. The company maintains a business philosophy to encourage innovation and autonomy across different divisions, creating a culture of employee-inspired continuous improvement in energy efficiency.

In 2011, Grimmway received a “Clean and Green” award from PG&E for its energy efficiency and environmentally progressive business practices. This continued focus has led Grimmway to be recognized as a 2012 “Kern Green Energy Efficiency and Conservation” recipient. By investing in farm energy conservation, the company expects to keep ahead of the market and regulatory requirements while reducing operating costs.

1. Sustainability Principles
Grimmway Farms is dedicated to: 

  • Creating a balance between social, environmental, and economic gains
  • Maintaining and growing techniques that optimize crop yields and quality, while minimizing water and energy use 

2. Sustainability Processes
Energy drives Grimmway’s farming operation, so company staff and management have prioritized farm energy efficiencies to be implemented throughout its California operations. One way that Grimmway remains competitive in the always-changing produce market is by adopting and innovating new sustainable solutions.  Grimmway recognizes many benefits of energy conservation in its farming operations, including reducing its carbon footprint, preserving the environment, and decreasing costs. 

3.  Sustainability Practices
The Grimmway team continually identifies new cost-effective energy conservation projects through regular analysis of its energy use records and data.  Grimmway has adopted many energy efficiency practices throughout its California operations, including:

  • Using eco-boost technologies in its pickup truck fleet
  • Replacing and upgrading older farm equipment with the latest emission control technologies
  • Swapping out diesel irrigation pump engines with electric powered ones
  • Frequent, regular inspection and maintenance of equipment
  • Using ATVs for irrigation crew transportation

Since 2010, Grimmway has used sustainability and Environmental benefit information, required in all farming bid inquiries, to guide vendor selection. The company utilizes GPS and GIS technologies to optimize management and vendor transportation to farm sites. Grimmway’s produce trailers meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay vehicle requirements to improve fuel Efficiency.  Keeping true to its commitment to continually improve in energy conservation, the company is currently undertaking a redesign of its field trailers.  The redesigned trailers are made from recycled steel and will save fuel by accommodating more product per trailer load while using a lighter frame. 

4. Sustainability Performance Metrics
At Grimmway, energy performance metric data are collected and analyzed in a variety of ways.  Prior to purchase, vehicle and equipment fuel economy and air emissions are estimated, using factory design specifications.  Estimated savings are used to project an anticipated return on investment, which includes fuel savings and emission reductions.  Fuel use for fleet pickups is tracked and evaluated on a regular basis to compare actual-versus-anticipated efficiencies. Farm equipment fuel is also tracked and evaluated using a cost-per-acre to grow calculation. Farm electricity use is analyzed on an annual basis to ensure that the rates and usage align for optimal energy and cost savings. 

5. Sustainability Progress
As Grimmway has grown over the past 45 years, the company has maintained its business model to encourage innovation and autonomy across different divisions. Grimmway managers meet weekly to evaluate operational needs and accomplishments, and prioritize new projects or initiatives. Employee ideas and feedback are integrated into these regular meetings. 

On a quarterly basis, the Grimmway Board of Directors and executive managers meet to analyze market and industry trends, as well as to evaluate the company’s performance in relation to its goals and overall business strategy. Employee ideas and feedback are gathered through ongoing meetings and communications throughout the company, and then integrated into the quarterly meetings.

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