For years, Fair Oaks, Ind.-based Prairie’s Edge Dairy Farms, LLC, had been trying to find the right technology
One back surgery and 30 years later,
A compost demonstration project and a public education and training facility for farmers.
November 15, 2017 – Livestock facilities can be odorous, including systems that manage beef cattle on deep-bedded pack. Based on the results of past research, bedding mixtures containing pine shavings produce less odors and have lower levels of total E. coli compared to bedding mixtures containing other crop- and wood-based materials. Unfortunately, availability and affordability may limit the use of pine bedding in beef deep-bedded facilities. But recent research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service has found that some odor relief is possible if pine bedding is mixed with readily available and affordable corn stover bedding. During the study, mixtures of bedding materials, containing zero, 10, 20, 30, 40, 60, 80, and 100 percent pine chips combined with corn stover, were tested over a seven-week period for odor generation and presence of E. coli. Results showed that including even 10 percent pine chips in the mixture lowered the concentration of skatole, a highly odorous compound emitted from livestock waste. When 100 percent pine chips were used, skatole was reduced by 88 percent compared to using corn stover alone. Including greater than 60 percent pine chips in the mixture increased the concentration of odorous sulfur compounds up to 2.4 times compared to corn stover. Bedding material did not affect E. coli. Researchers are suggesting a bedding material mixture that contains 30 to 60 percent pine and 40 to 70 percent corn stover may be the ideal combination to mitigate odorous emissions from livestock facilities using deep-bedded systems.
North Carolina is described as the heart of the “American Broiler Belt.” With the poultry industry still expanding to some extent in the state and less land being available for manure application due to population growth and urban sprawl, alternative uses for poultry litter are being urgently explored.
November 14, 2017 – Dozens of livestock farmers in the Netherlands are breaking the rules for the disposal of surplus manure, according to an investigation by the NRC Handelsblad, an evening newspaper based in Amsterdam. Farmers are forging their accounts, illegally trading their manure or dumping more on their land than permitted by law, while transport companies are fiddling lorry weights and making unrecorded trips to dump manure at night, the paper said. In total, the NRC found that 36 of the 56 manure processing and distribution companies in the two regions had been fined for fraud, or suspected of fraud, in what the paper calls the “manure conspiracy.” READ MORE
Ephrata, PA – Mark Mosemann has used half-a-dozen manure systems since he came back to his family’s dairy farm in 2000. There were the bad old days of daily hauling, which the Warfordsburg family accomplished without a skid loader. There was the new dairy complex with alley scrapers, then a dabble with sand bedding that got expensive, and finally a test of – and then wholesale shift to – separated manure solids. Mosemann is still looking at upgrades, including a cover for the manure pit. READ MORE
November 10, 2017, Madison, WI – A study of Wisconsin land sales found farmland in some counties is worth more if it's closer to a concentrated animal feeding operation, also known as CAFOs. The analysis came out of a larger project to combine statewide data on land use, land sales and soil survey data, said Simon Jette-Nantel, farm management specialist for the University of Wisconsin-Extension. READ MORE
November 9, 2017, Allison, IA – A leaking pit from a hog confinement about five miles southeast of Allison in Butler County sent Iowa Department or Natural Resources (DNR) staff to the field to investigate Nov. 4. The manure flowed into a grass waterway, into an underground tile line and into a tributary of the West Fork of the Cedar River. The facility owner discovered the leak and a faulty pipe seal. The farm crew worked overnight to remove manure from the pit and land apply it. They also worked to dam the tributary and pump up contaminated water in the creek. When the DNR arrived, pumping and land application to crop fields continued. Most of the contaminated water was contained, but field tests showed elevated ammonia levels below the dam. Staff saw one small dead fish but no others. The owner continued pumping contaminated water and land applying it. On Nov. 6, DNR staff found contaminated water contained to a one-mile stretch of the tributary. Fisheries staff found a few more dead fish, but also live fish in the stream. The DNR will continue to monitor cleanup and will consider appropriate enforcement action.
November 7, 2017, Marianna, FL – Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam presented Cindale Farms of Jackson County and two other farms – those in Alachua and Hillsborough counties – with the state’s Agricultural-Environmental Leadership Award on Nov. 1. The awards were among several in various categories given at a Florida Farm Bureau meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach. Florida Blue Farms Inc., of Alachua County, and Speedling Inc., of Hillsborough County were the other honorees in that category. Cindale, a dairy and creamery operation, was lauded for its innovative practices in protecting and preserving Florida’s resources. READ MORE
November 7, 2017 – A new funding program being delivered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) aims to improve soil health through investments in nutrient application equipment. With 60 percent cost-share support, up to a maximum of $25,000 per business, this is a significant opportunity for Ontario’s nutrient applicators. The Manure and Biosolids Management Program – available to all licensed custom applicators in Ontario – seeks to enhance soil health across the province. Adding organic matter to the soil is a key piece of building soil health, particularly when applied using precise and innovative spreading techniques. “It’s the multiplier effect that is so significant within the Manure and Biosolids Management Program,” said Andrew Graham, executive director of the OSCIA. “Each implemented best management practice can benefit soil health on many farm properties. The potential impacts are exponential.” The Manure and Biosolids Management Program encourages the use of best management practices (BMPs) that enhance soil health, improve application accuracy to reduce phosphorus loss from the field edge, and protect water quality. Improving soil health is also an important part of the agri-food industry’s work to mitigate climate change. Funding is available to customize spreading equipment to allow in-crop application, or to allow slurry seeding of cover crops. There is also an innovative approaches BMP that allows businesses to invest in up-and-coming technology that is not yet available in Ontario. “There are new ideas coming forward from around the world for precision manure application and data management,” says Mack Emiry, president of OSCIA. “The innovative approaches BMP encourages businesses to invest in these technologies, raising the bar for nutrient management here in Ontario.” Funding for the Manure and Biosolids Management Program is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Eligible applicants must have an up-to-date Nutrient Application Technician Licence and/or an up-to-date Prescribed Materials Application Business Licence. Applications can be made immediately. Projects must be complete, and claims submitted by January 15, 2018.
November 1, 2017, Dyersville, IA – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently received laboratory results confirming that ammonia toxicity in runoff from a dairy was responsible for an October fish kill in Dubuque County. Test results from water samples DNR collected Oct. 9 showed elevated levels of ammonia below a manure storage basin at the New Vienna operation. Additional test results ruled out other livestock facilities and a field where manure had recently been land applied. The DNR fisheries report shows 60,278 fish were killed along nearly seven miles of stream, including an unnamed tributary of Hickory Creek, Hickory Creek and Hewitt Creek. More than 42,000 were minnows, shiners, dace and chubs. The remainder included primarily suckers, darters and stonerollers. The DNR will seek fish restitution of $21,712.44, which includes a fish replacement value of $19,416.15 and the cost of the fisheries investigation. The investigation started Oct. 9 at Highway 136 bridge in Dyersville, following a report of dead fish in Hewitt Creek. DNR staff followed dead fish upstream until they found evidence of manure washed into a stream.
November 1, 2017, Stratford, IA – The Stratford Fire Department responded to a hog building explosion southeast of Stratford Oct. 31. The wall on one side of the building was damaged by the blast. According to reports, workers had just started to stir the pit and were pumping manure when the explosion occurred. READ MORE
October 31, 2017, Wellington, FL – The manure crisis of 1894 has returned in the backyards of Wellington, West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County, Florida. West Palm Beach is among many locations – like Calgary, Alberta, and Norco, California – where a significant amount of horses and riders cohabitate for competition and sport. The resulting waste bedding creates hundreds of thousands of tons of manure per region. Enter HiPoint Agro Bedding Corp (HPAB), who has developed a process that takes waste shavings, cleans them, pasteurizes them and re-packages them for resale and reuse. The removed horse manure can then be aerobically composted or used to produce energy in an anaerobic digester. HPAB is currently completing site validations across North America aimed at recycling waste bedding shavings in areas of high horse and rider populations. In many cases, inadequate stockpiling of manure has caught the attention of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the public, causing significant environmental concerns with the use and improper disposal of equine bedding material.
As I write this, only a few days are left before livestock operations need to submit their air emissions data to the federal government under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). All poultry and livestock facilities that are likely to emit more than 100 pounds of ammonia or hydrogen sulfide in a 24-hour period are required to report their initial continuous release notification to the National Response Center.
November 14, 2017, Washington, DC – With a Nov. 15 deadline looming, the National Pork Producers Council and the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association recently filed a brief in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s motion to delay a mandate that farmers report certain air emissions from manure on their farms. In April, a federal court, ruling on a lawsuit brought by environmental activist groups against the EPA, rejected an exemption for farms from reporting “hazardous” emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). CERCLA mainly is used to clean hazardous waste sites but has a federal reporting component, while EPCRA requires entities to report on the storage, use and release of hazardous substances to state and local governments, including first responders. The EPA had exempted farms from CERCLA reporting, reasoning that while emissions might exceed thresholds that would trigger responses under the law such responses would be “unnecessary, impractical and unlikely.” The agency limited EPCRA reporting to large, confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), requiring them to make one-time reports. Under the decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, all livestock farms, not just CAFOs, are required to report. Between 60,000 and 100,000 livestock and poultry farmers will need to file air emissions reports with the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center (NRC), beginning Nov. 15, as well as written reports with their regional EPA office within 30 days of reporting to the NRC. Some farmers already have tried filing reports, but the NRC system has been overwhelmed. NRC operators are refusing to accept reports for more than a single farm per call because of concern that the phone systems will be tied up for non-emergency purposes. In one instance, an NRC operator sent notices out to more than 20 state and federal response authorities, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a state policy agency, after receiving a phone call. In seeking a second delay in implementing the CERCLA reporting mandate – the original filing deadline technically was the day the federal court threw out the exemption – the EPA, NPPC and the poultry and egg association are asking the court to give the agency more time to “provide farmers more specific and final guidance before they must estimate and report emissions” and to develop a system that will enable farmers to comply with their legal obligations.
November 13, 2017, Winnipeg, Man – New hog barns will be built Manitoba. After an all-night session at the Manitoba Legislature, Bill 24 has passed its final reading and received royal assent. The newly passed act amends The Environment Act, removing general prohibitions for the expansion of hog barns and manure storage facilities. Bill 24 also strikes the winter manure application ban from the Environment Act, although winter application would continue to be prohibited for all livestock operations in Manitoba under the Livestock Manure and Mortalities Management Regulation. READ MORE
November 10, 2017, Kewaunee, WI – The Kewaunee County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an ordinance regulating manure irrigation at its Nov. 7 meeting. The Chapter 37 Agricultural Waste and Process Wastewater Irrigation Ordinance allows low pressure-drip irrigation at a height no greater than 18 inches to apply nutrients during the growing season. The vote was 19-0 with one supervisor excused. READ MORE
November 10, 2017, Washington, DC – A House Subcommittee on the Environment held a hearing recently on a bipartisan bill to reduce the risk of farmers from citizen-led lawsuits. The Farm Regulatory Certainty Act has more than 60 co-sponsors, and was spearheaded by Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., and Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif. Newhouse, a former Washington ag director, told the subcommittee about a Washington state dairy farmer who was operating under state nutrient management plans, but entered into a consent decree with EPA. Then a third party got records on the dairy and it was sued under an environmental act. READ MORE
October 31, 2017, Milwaukee, WI – The last couple of weeks have been very busy for Michael Best’s clients in the dairy industry. First, our attorneys assisted the Dairy Business Association of Wisconsin (DBA) in settling a lawsuit brought on DBA’s behalf, challenging Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (WDNR) regulation of large dairy farms under its Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit program. Second, Governor Walker announced, as part of his rural agenda, his intention to “work with the legislature and EPA to transfer regulatory authority over large farms from the DNR to DATCP to encourage the best use of technical expertise and create program efficiencies,” a move long-supported by industry insiders to allow for more efficient permitting. We will keep our dairy industry clients informed of the impacts of these developments as we move forward. But, as for the lawsuit settlement, many of our clients are asking “what’s next?” To start, the settlement vindicates DBA’s claims that WDNR acted in excess of its legal authority in 2016 when it implemented a new approach to regulating runoff from feed storage areas (FSAs) and management of calf hutch lots without engaging in formal rulemaking procedures required by statute. The settlement provides immediate relief for Wisconsin’s dairy community and should help ensure WDNR follows the law before unilaterally implementing sweeping regulatory changes in the future. The settlement also has important implications for dairy farms regulated under WPDES permits. Background NRCS Standard 635 (2002 WI), incorporated in Wis. Admin. Code ch. NR 243 (Wisconsin’s CAFO Rule), permits the use of land-based Vegetated Treatment Areas (VTAs) to manage captured or contained feed storage runoff. Relying on this standard, numerous Wisconsin farms constructed VTAs as part of their runoff control systems. In almost all cases, the design and use of VTAs was approved by WDNR as part of a WPDES permit. In 2016, WDNR began a systematic approach of declining to review feed runoff control systems that included these designs, and began enforcing standards of 100 percent storage of all feed storage runoff that would require costly modifications and upgrades to existing runoff control systems. Meanwhile, WDNR also changed its approach to regulating on-farm calf hutch lots. On March 9, 2016, WDNR announced that it would require review and approval of engineering plans and specifications for calf hutch lots on WPDES-permitted farms. WDNR’s calf hutch directive would have treated calf hutch lots as “reviewable facility or systems” under NR 243 and would have required compliance with standards not incorporated into law. Frustrated after more than a year’s worth of attempts by DBA to convince WDNR to reverse these two illegal actions (actions which resulted in a number of enforcement actions being initiated by WDNR against DBA farmer members), DBA filed suit against WDNR earlier this summer in Brown County Circuit Court. What does the settlement do? The settlement provides immediate regulatory relief for Wisconsin dairy farmers and avoids the delay and expense of additional litigation. The settlement is public and can be viewed here. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, WDNR agreed to recognize VTAs constructed and managed in accordance with NRCS Standard 635 (2002 WI) as valid and lawful runoff control systems. WDNR also agreed to withdraw its draft guidance on VTAs and notify affected permit holders and interested stakeholders within 30 days. With respect to calf hutch lots, WDNR agreed that calf hutch lots are not a “reviewable facility or system” requiring an engineering plan and specification review and approval, to rescind its earlier directive requiring such reviews, and to provide notice to affected permit holders and stakeholders within 30 days. Importantly, the settlement also requires WDNR to limit its enforcement of standards or rules relating to FSA leachate/runoff controls to those authorized by statute or administrative rule. WDNR also agreed that it would not consider calf hutch lots “reviewable facilities” in the future unless specifically required by a lawfully enacted statute or promulgated administrative rule. Permit holders should know that the settlement does not alter the discharge standard applicable to dairy CAFOs under NR 243 and farms’ WPDES permits nor the duty to apply for coverage under such permits; the settlement does, however, clarify that WDNR may no longer presume that a discharge is occurring or will occur from a farm. Under NR 243.13, a CAFO generally may not discharge manure or process wastewater to navigable waters from the production area, except where there is a precipitation caused discharge from the containment, the containment has been designed to capture the 25 year/24-hour rain event, and the production area is operated in accordance with inspection, maintenance and record keeping requirements, as defined in the rule. This standard is set by state and federal law. Beyond this requirement to prohibit the discharge of pollutants to navigable waters, WDNR may not further impose a standard requiring “zero discharge” whatsoever from the production area or VTA. DBA members have been frustrated with WDNR’s presumption of a discharge and implementation of a “zero discharge” standard without regard to important modifiers that allow such a discharge under certain circumstances. What should farm owners do next? As alleged in the lawsuit, WDNR has been enforcing regulatory standards and requirements that exceed its authority through a variety of means. These include (1) informing WPDES permit applicants that their application would not be approved unless their leachate and runoff control systems were redesigned to comply with new requirements; (2) issuing Notices of Noncompliance, Notices of Violation, and holding Enforcement Conferences with affected dairy farms; and (3) taking further enforcement actions against dairy farms alleged to be in noncompliance with WDNR’s new standards. Any WPDES permit holder who has been subject to any of these actions should be aware that the settlement may impact their legal rights and options for responding to WDNR. Timely review and action may be required to preserve these rights as farms proceed through permitting and enforcement actions. For WPDES Permit Applicants: WPDES permit holders seeking issuance of an initial WPDES permit or reissuance of an expiring WPDES permit should review the status of their permit application with knowledgeable legal counsel and engineering professionals familiar with the program and the settlement. Specifically, this review should consider whether WDNR is (1) requiring an engineering review of existing FSA runoff controls, which is no longer justified given the settlement of the DBA lawsuit; (2) requiring an engineering review of a calf hutch lot, which is not permitted under the terms of the settlement; or (3) making a finding of noncompliance or returning a submission as incomplete based on standards or requirements that are now unenforceable based on the settlement agreement. Additionally, if the farm has received (or expects to receive) a draft permit in the future, this document should be carefully reviewed to ensure that the permit’s terms and conditions do not exceed WDNR’s legal authority. For Farms Subject to Enforcement Action: Numerous WPDES permit holders have been issued a Notice of Violation or Notice of Noncompliance related to the farms’ alleged failure to comply with WDNR’s 2016 guidance on FSA leachate and runoff control systems or calf hutch lots. Farms should have legal counsel evaluate the continuing basis for any enforcement action, particularly as they related to alleged discharges from FSAs or calf hutch lots, inadequate FSA or calf hutch runoff control and collection systems, or failure to maintain 180 days of manure and process wastewater storage. Dairy farmers with questions about how the settlement may affect their farm’s regulatory obligations should contact a Michael Best attorney.
October 27, 2017, Washington, DC – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released guidance to assist farmers in reporting air releases of hazardous substances from animal waste at farms. The EPA is making this information available to provide time for farmers to review and prepare for the reporting deadline, currently set for November 15, 2017 “EPA is working diligently to address undue regulatory burden on American farmers,” said Administrator Scott Pruitt. “While we continue to examine our options for reporting requirements for emissions from animal waste, EPA’s guidance is designed to help farmers comply with the current requirements.” On December 18, 2008, EPA published a final rule that exempted farms from reporting air releases of hazardous substances from animal waste. On April 11, 2017, the DC Circuit Court vacated this final rule. In response to a request from EPA, the DC Circuit Court extended the date by which farms must begin reporting these releases to November 15, 2017. Unless the court further delays this date, all farms (including those previously exempted) that have releases of hazardous substances to air from animal wastes equal to or greater than the reportable quantities for those hazardous substances within any 24-hour period must provide notification of such releases. The EPA guidance information includes links to resources that farmers can use to calculate emissions tailored to specific species of livestock. To view EPA’s guidance and Frequently Asked Questions on reporting air emissions from animal waste, click here: https://www.epa.gov/epcra/cercla-and-epcra-reporting-requirements-air-releases-hazardous-substances-animal-waste-farms. The EPA will revise this guidance, as necessary, to reflect additional information to assist farm owners and operators to meet reporting obligations. Interested parties may submit comments or suggestions by November 24, 2017.
October 26, 2017, Atlantic, IA – Staff from the Iowa Department of Natural Resource’s Atlantic field office were in the field recently checking for the source of a manure spill that reached a tributary of East Tarkio Creek in Page County. Staff responded to an Oct. 25 report of a manure spill that occurred the previous evening when a stuck pump valve caused manure to pool at a confinement near Clarinda. DNR staff found manure pooled at the site, and in roadside and drainage ditches that flow into an unnamed tributary of the East Tarkio Creek. An estimated 7,000 gallons of manure was released during manure pumping by a commercial manure applicator. The applicator immediately limed the ditch and placed hay bales to keep manure from moving downstream. The DNR is requiring him to build a temporary dam in the ditch and excavate soil to prevent more manure from reaching the stream. Staff found no dead fish, but the investigation is ongoing.
October 18, 2017, Winnipeg, Man – Manitoba Pork is encouraging its members to voice their support the provincial government's "Red Tape Reduction and Government Efficiency Act" during public hearings planned for next week. Public hearings into Bill 24, the Manitoba Government's Red Tape Reduction and Government Efficiency Act, are scheduled for October 25 and 26 at the Manitoba Legislature and Manitoba Pork is calling on pork producers to take the opportunity to participate and tell their personal stories. George Matheson, the chair of Manitoba Pork, says key changes of interest to pork producers under the bill include the elimination of the requirements for anaerobic digesters and changes to the farm building code, which will have no impact on safeguards to protect the environment or farm safety. “The reality is that an anaerobic digester did nothing to lessen the phosphates that would be spread on the farmers fields so an anaerobic digester did not solve that so called problem at all,” he said. “Manure will still only allowed to be spread during warmer weather before frost hits the ground roughly speaking, no spreading between November 10 through to April 10.” “Hog manure, to reduce odor and runoff, will have to be injected or immediately cultivated in. Farms of over 300 animal units, which would be most, will have to file manure management plans.” "Manure cannot be spread close to runoff areas, there will have to be buffers,” Matheson says. “Things such as this will still be in place so the environment will not be affected adversely at all.” He stresses, if the bill is passed, Manitoba pork producers will still be subject to the toughest environmental regulations anywhere. Matheson encourages anyone interested in presenting to contact Manitoba Pork for information and assistance.
October 16, 2017, Des Moines, IA – A state fund set up to oversee Iowa livestock farms and manage the millions of gallons of manure they produce each year has been illegally diverted for other uses by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, according to the program's former manager. Gene Tinker worked as the DNR coordinator of animal feeding operations for 14 years before he was laid off in August. In an appeal seeking to have his job reinstated, Tinker said he was told the layoff was due to state budget problems, even though the fund paying for his program received $1.6 million a year from fees charged to the livestock farms. READ MORE
October 13, 2017, Dyersville, IA – On October 9 and 10, staff from the Iowa Department of Natural Resource’s Manchester field office looked for the source of a fish kill on Hickory and Hewitt Creeks in Dubuque County. Starting at the Highway 136 bridge in Dyersville, DNR staff followed dead fish upstream for about five miles to an unnamed tributary of Hickory Creek. The likely source of the fish kill is manure washed into the stream from an animal feeding operation in the upper part of the watershed. The fish kill was reported October 9, but the caller noticed dead fish following rainfall over the weekend. The investigation is ongoing as DNR awaits laboratory test results from water samples. DNR fisheries staff estimate thousands of fish were killed, including white suckers, stonerollers, minnows and creek chubs. An official count will be available later. DNR will seek enforcement actions as appropriate.
October 13, 2017, Indianapolis, IN – Indiana lawmakers will meet Oct. 19 to continue hearing testimony as they consider updating regulations on the state’s livestock feeding operations. The Interim Study Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources, which has members from both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly, has already met twice this fall to discuss industrial confined feeding programs. READ MORE
November 13, 2017, Madison, WI – Dane County plans to stop making electricity with natural gas extracted from heaps of garbage and manure so that it can sell the gas through an interstate pipeline for use as environmentally-friendly automobile fuel. The $23.5 million project at the county landfill would be the first of its kind in the state. READ MORE
October 20, 2017, Portland, OR - At its recent annual conference, the American Biogas Council (ABC) announced the winners of the Biogas Industry Awards, presented at a sold out dinner celebration at BIOCYCLE REFOR17. The winners included four biogas systems, one innovation and one individual all recognized for their contributions to the growth of the U.S. biogas industry. In addition, 12 projects received the ABC's longevity award, an earned by biogas systems which have been continuously operating for more than five or ten years. The award ceremony followed the announcement of 12 projects and innovations which made the ABC's shortlist, the finalists for the Biogas Industry Awards – all laudable in their own right. "Our award this year recognize projects that are great examples for future projects a great new tool for finding nutrient recovery technologies and a champion for the biogas industry," said Patrick Serfass, ABC executive director. "We are so proud to be awarding these shining stars of the industry." Biogas systems turn organic material into soil amendments and gaseous fuel by using anaerobic digestion, a natural, biological process in a sealed tank. There are more than 2,200 operational biogas systems in the U.S. today with the potential for more than 13,500 new systems to be built. Project of the Year Monogram Clean Energy Plant | Martinsville, VA Monogram Foods operates a production plant in Martinsville, Virginia, that produces beef jerky and other meat snacks. In 2016, to support the expansion of its production plant and address waste treatment needs, Monogram initiated construction on a new Clean Energy Plant (CEP) that principally uses an Anaerobic Digester (AD) to treat its wastes. The CEP was completed in June 2017. It was conceived by Monogram staff, its engineers, and its financial representatives to address waste and wastewater treatment needs in a sustainable fashion. The biogas is used to produce both heat and power for plant operations. Pine Island Farm Digester Facility | Sheffield, MA Pine Island Farm is a large dairy farm in Sheffield, Massachusetts. To address problems of large scale farming, such as manure management, groundwater protection and odor control, Pine Island Dairy Farm installed an on-farm DVO anaerobic digester. The AD system generates electric power and heat. The electric power is being used at the farm and net metered to other commercial consumers. Waste heat is reclaimed from the gen-set and utilized to heat the digester and other areas of the dairy operation. Digestate reuse has eliminated the need for the farm to buy bedding and the nutrients in the liquid are increasing crop yields while decreasing the need to invest in herbicides to combat weed seeds. Reinford Farms Anaerobic Digester | Mifflintown, PA Reinford Farm hired RCM, now part of Martin Construction, to reduce odor and better manage the manure supply on their 750-head dairy. The system was over-sized intentionally to prepare for a herd expansion, but shortly after startup, the farm decided to use the excess capacity to co-digest food waste with the manure. The farm is utilizing the full potential of the digester system by not only producing and selling electricity but utilizing waste heat to operate a grain dryer and heat several farm buildings including their home. The digestate solids are used for bedding and the liquid is used for fertilizer. Synergy Biogas | Covington, NY In 2011, CH4 Biogas built a 400 ton/day mixed waste biogas facility at Synergy Dairy in New York. The facility digests manure from about 2,000 milking cows with food-grade organic waste. Biogas from the digester fuels a 1426 kWh generator. In addition, the facility produces about 16,000 yd3/yr bedding for the dairy, 30 million gallons liquid fertilizer for land application and 8000 tons CO2 emission reduction credits. The project was originally built as a full-scale demonstration project meant to showcase advanced European AD technology that maximizes energy output. Facility performance was evaluated by Cornell University, which found it to be the most efficient digester in NY. Friend of the ABC Dr. David Babson Throughout the most recent parts of his career at the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the US Department of Energy, and now the US Department of Agriculture, David Babson has been a tireless advocate for anaerobic digester-produced biogas in the EPA Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), guiding ABC members through the maze of RFS terms, RIN calculations and more. He regularly helps to educate and guide industry through conferences and events, and one on one guidance related to a number of biogas related topics in the federal government. Innovation of the Year Newtrient LLC Technology Catalog In March of this year, Newtrient launched an open-source, technology catalog that provides a comprehensive analysis of relevant dairy manure-management technologies in the United States. To help industry, especially dairies, choose the manure-management solution that might best work at their site, the Newtrient Technology Catalog provides a reliable, third-party technology evaluation tool covering over 180 technologies related to biogas production or digestate management. Longevity Awards Biogas systems that have been continuously operating for 10+ years: Castelanelli Bros Dairy Digester Schrack Farms Anaerobic Digester Biogas systems that have been continuously operating for 5+ years: BioTown Ag Dairy Dreams Double A Dairy DuBois Energy Flint Biogas Plant Kane's Cow Power Monument Farms Pine Island Farm Digester Reinford Farms Synergy Biogas
October 4, 2017, Finland – The electricity used at this year’s Helsinki International Horse Show will be produced entirely with horse manure at Fortum’s Järvenpää power plant. The electricity consumption of the event is expected to be about 140 MWh, and the origin of the electricity will be verified by the Guarantee of Origin system maintained by Fingrid. Producing the energy needed for the event requires the annual manure output of 14 horses. This is the first time in the world that the electricity for a major horse show will be produced entirely with horse manure. “I am really proud that electricity produced with horse manure can be utilized for an event that is important to equestrian fans and the horse sector,” said Anssi Paalanen, vice president of Fortum HorsePower. “It is great that Finland’s biggest and best-known horse show is a forerunner in energy and environmental issues.” “It’s great to participate in electrifying the pilot event of the Fortum HorsePower concept with horse manure,” said Tom Gordin, event director. “Overall, the concept is fascinating and creates tremendous opportunities for the entire horse sector in Europe. This is also an important part of our own Horse Show Jumps Green environmental project.” Fortum HorsePower is a bedding and manure management service for stables, with the manure generated at the stables transported for use in energy production. The service has been operating in the Uusimaa region for a couple of years, and the service area is expanding all the time. In addition to the Helsinki metropolitan area, it now covers much of southern and western Finland. The Fortum HorsePower service was launched this autumn also in Sweden, where there are already close to 3,000 horses leaving green hoof prints and producing energy through the service. During the event, Fortum HorsePower will deliver wood-based bedding for the 250 or so horses that will be staying in temporary stalls. The manure-bedding mixture that is generated will be transported to Fortum’s Järvenpää power plant where it will be utilized in energy production. An estimated 135 tonnes of manure-bedding mixture will be generated during the event. The Helsinki International Horse Show will be held on October 18 to 22.
September 21, 2017, Portland, OR – U.S.-based private investment fund Climate Trust Capital has reached agreement on its first carbon investment in the biogas sector – the West-Star North Dairy Biogas Project. More than $862,000 of Climate Trust Capital’s Fund I was invested in a covered lagoon digester that will destroy methane and produce carbon offsets under California’s cap and trade system. Fund I was launched in October 2016, seeded by a $5.5 million investment from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and supported by a Conservation Innovation Grant from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. “This has been an exciting year, with marked progress toward the deployment of the $5.5 million that makes up Climate Trust Capital’s Fund I,” said Sean Penrith, executive director for The Climate Trust. “We have officially made investments in each of our three preferred sectors – forestry, grassland conservation, and livestock digesters – and are pleased to see our investment strategy come to fruition with high-caliber partner, California Bioenergy.” The investment is based on the anticipated 10-year value of carbon credits from a livestock digester project located at West-Star North Dairy, a 1,500-acre farm in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Project partner, California Bioenergy LLC (CalBio), has built three other dairy digester projects, including the state’s largest, with many more scheduled for development. This project investment is expected to begin generating carbon offsets in January 2018 with initial cash flow from the sale of these offsets in 2019. “Realizing the potential cash flow from the future sale of a dairy digester’s environmental attributes is a complex process involving a high level of project expertise, careful monitoring, and the management of regulatory and market risk,” said Ross Buckenham, CEO for California Bioenergy. “The Climate Trust is a sophisticated carbon investor and together we are able to harness the value of these environmental benefits. The Climate Trust’s willingness to invest in a significant portion of the future attributes further reduces risks to the famer and project. We are grateful for their support as well as the support of the California Energy Commission and the California Department of Food and Agriculture.” Farms have historically flushed their manure into uncovered lagoons, which generate methane and release it to the atmosphere. The West-Star North digester will treat the manure by installing CalBio’s patented dairy digester design – excavating two new lagoons in the process – and then covering the lagoons with a flexible, high-density polyethylene cover. Captured methane will be stored and then combusted in a high-efficiency generator that delivers renewable electricity to Pacific Gas and Electric. In addition, the digester will be double lined and enhance ground-water protection. Effluent from the digester will be used to irrigate fields and will also be part of a USDA drip irrigation study. “Digester projects offer a host of beneficial revenue streams, from improving the economic and environmental performance of dairies, to clean energy, scheduled electricity delivery, improved soil nutrient management, and diverting waste from landfills,” said Peter Weisberg, senior portfolio manager for The Climate Trust.
September 21, 2017 – Join AgSTAR at the BioCycle REFOR17 conference and attend the program’s “States Advance Digester Development” session. During the session – being held from 4:15 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 17 – participants will explore state policies and incentives that support and advance anaerobic digestion (AD). Speakers will include: Alex DePillis, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets - Anaerobic Digestion Policies in Northeast States Jenny Lester Moffitt, California Department of Food and Agriculture - Policies and Incentives to Advance AD in California Daniel Avery, Oregon Department of Energy - Oregon Inventory of Biogas and Renewable Natural Gas Resources Jim Jenson, Washington State University - Biomethane Roadmap for Washington State Speaker presentations will be followed by a moderated panel discussion examining: State-level goals and how states are achieving them Successes and setbacks related to AD policies Challenges facing the potential expansion of digesters Potential opportunities in the AD market BioCycle REFOR17 is being held October 16 to 19, 2017 in Portland, Oregon, at the Red Lion Hotel on the River. This national biogas conference offers hands-on information and tools to position companies or organizations for success in AD, biogas markets, composting, manure, food waste, and renewable fuels. The event will feature plenary and technical sessions, an exhibit hall, a site tour, and workshops. View the BioCycle REFOR17 website for more information.
September 20, 2017, Deerfield, MA – A loud humming, two flares more than a dozen feet off the ground and a pair of rubber bladder domes, fully inflated, are a sure sign that the methane digester is running smoothly at Bar-Way Farm, where the sign along Mill River Road boasts its “Farm Powered” system is at work churning and burning manure and food waste into energy. But the fact that those flares have been a constant since the $5 million system went online at the beginning of March is also a sign that nearly all of the power produced by the 1-megawatt generator every day is wasted. Eversource, according to farmer Peter Melnick, has failed to meet several promised dates for hooking up the methane-burning generator to the electric grid. READ MORE
September 20, 2017, Australia – A family-owned piggery in northern Victoria is about to unplug from the grid and rely on a $1 million biogas system for all its power. The biogas system is expected to save the business operators at Yarrawalla hundreds of thousands of dollars. READ MORE
September 18, 2017, Madison, WI – The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) approved a conditional $15 million Focus on Energy grant to BC Organics, LLC for an innovative bioenergy system in Brown County. The system will produce renewable natural gas from dairy farm manure and other waste. The project will reduce the need to land-spread raw manure, protect sensitive groundwater and surface waters in northeastern Wisconsin, and provide positive economic benefits to participating farms. At the direction of Governor Walker, the PSC, Department of Natural Resources, and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection collaborated to develop a request for proposals (RFP) on innovative anaerobic digester systems that could produce renewable energy, remove nutrients from manure, protect water quality, and reduce pathogens. BC Organics was recommended unanimously by the evaluation team comprised of expert staff from the PSC, DNR, DATCP, UW-Madison and Focus on Energy. BC Organics must obtain all of the necessary state and local regulatory approvals before construction may begin and includes an odor control plan designed to minimize impacts to neighboring landowners. The consortium consists of 24 members led by Wisconsin-based Dynamic Concepts (Waukesha), along with WEC Energy Group (Milwaukee), US Biogas LLC (Plymouth), and BioStar Organics, among other Wisconsin based firms. The project’s proposed location is northeast of Holland, near Green Bay, is co-located with a proposed landfill owned by Brown County. It has commitments from nine Wisconsin farms with over 22,000 animal units, with the capability to expand to include additional farms in the future. The facility is expected to begin operations by January 1, 2019. The project will employee up to 20 full-time employees. The project involves the construction of multiple anaerobic digesters with capability to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) from manure and food waste, and eventually landfill gas. The estimated energy output of 5.7 million therms is equivalent to the home heating needs for 7,600 Wisconsin homes. The RNG will be injected into the interstate natural gas pipeline system for use as a heating and transportation fuel. The project will improve water quality in surface and groundwater in Brown, Kewaunee, Calumet, and Door counties using advanced nutrient separation technologies to treat the wastewater and produce other beneficial by-products including, bedding for cattle, liquid fertilizer, and dry solids that can be converted to fertilizer or used as feedstock for a renewable electric generation facility. When fully operational the project will remove 577,837 pounds of phosphorus and generate 163 million gallons of clean water annually. Wisconsin continues to lead the U.S. in on-farm digesters. BC Organics provides an innovative approach that could provide a model for eliminating the need to spread raw manure on the land and provides a framework that could be replicated in other parts of the state to improve environmental outcomes for the livestock industry. Specifically, it will help farmers reduce the water quality impacts of dairy farming in the karst region of northeastern Wisconsin by: reducing or eliminating the need to spread manure and overtopping lagoons; removing phosphorus from the waste stream; improving the efficiency of uptake of nutrients by plants; and virtually eliminating the pathogens in treated manure.
August 28, 2017, Haverhill, MA — It is going to decrease the smells emanating from a Bradford farm. It is going to improve the fertilizer needed to grow hay and corn.It will also provide enough energy to light up as many as 600 homes.An anaerobic digester — a structure that converts methane gas from cow manure and food waste into electricity — is coming to a two-acre plot of land on a hill atop Crescent Farm on Willow Avenue in Bradford.The farm's owners, the Davidowicz family, are hoping that construction of the digester — which will be managed by Vanguard Renewables of Wellesley — will begin this fall and that it will be up and running next year."We're going to start building it in October or November and it should be running by March or April," said Cody Davidowicz, the oldest son of the farm's owners, Michael and Debbie Davidowicz. Cody Davidowicz will be operating the digester.In May, the city inked a deal with Vanguard to purchase power generated by the digester for 13 cents a kilowatt hour, and estimates it will save the city as much as $300,000. READ MORE
July 27, 2017, California - A liquid organic biofertilizer made from the material that is left over after manure or food waste is digested to create clean electricity compares favorably in nutrient value with commonly used synthetic materials in trials on canning tomatoes and corn.UC Davis professor of biological and agricultural engineering Ruihong Zhang designed an anaerobic biodigester nearly 10 years ago that is used to turn food waste from campus dining halls into clean energy.Several dairies have also invested in digesters to treat their manure, which would otherwise emit the greenhouse gas methane, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture offers grants to help defray the cost.Cost is the major stumbling block to more widespread use of the technology, and the trial of a biofertilizer made in the campus digester is an attempt to see if the bottom line can be made just a little more favorable. READ MORE
July 26, 2017, Petaluma, CA – Tesla, mooo-ve over: California dairy farmer Albert Straus, a pioneer in organic dairy and sustainable agriculture, announces the launch of the first full-scale electric truck – powered by cow manure.This new full-scale-electric feed truck is the next step in Straus' quest to show that his Marin county organic dairy farm can be carbon positive, using agriculture as a solution to reversing climate change.Straus, along with a local mechanic, spent eight years developing the 33,000 lb. gross weight truck to use as a feed truck on his farm. The truck measures, mixes and hauls feed before dropping it into the trough for his nearly 300 organic dairy cows. An environmentally-friendly alternative to diesel-fueled trucks, the feed truck's motor is charged from electrical power generated from methane gas produced by the cows' own manure.California dairy farmers are facing pressure to lower methane emissions under the state's ambitious new greenhouse gas reduction laws, which include methane emission reduction targets of 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030. The state's Air Resources Board says that much of the reduction should come from converting methane from cow manure into energy. Dairy manure accounts for about a quarter of the state's methane emissions."What I've tried to do is create a sustainable organic farming model that is good for the earth, the soil, the animals, and the people working on these farms, and helps revitalize rural communities," said Albert Straus, CEO and founder of Straus Family Creamery.Straus added, "My electric feed truck is not only a practical tool for my organic farm. It is also a symbol of the resourcefulness we need to fight climate change, which threatens our business and the future of American farming."Straus' methane digester has been powering his farm since 2004, fueling his all-electric Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Leaf plus smaller farm vehicles and machinery. Working with the Marin Carbon Project, his 500-acre farm is California's first dairy to develop a 20-year carbon farming plan to sequester 2,000 metric tons of carbon every year. Straus' goal is to demonstrate to the farming community and public that farmers can implement and teach others practical solutions to climate change. Ultimately, Straus is working towards getting his farm off fossil fuels entirely.United States plug-in electrical vehicle sales have increased nine-fold since 2011, per Inside EVs. Yet Straus believes he is the first to put a full-scale electric feed truck into use, getting the jump on Tesla Motor's electric semi-truck slated for September 2017 release.Next, he plans to unveil an all-electric Farmers' Market truck to transport his company Straus Family Creamery's organic milk, cream, yogurt, ice cream and butter to local markets in San Francisco Bay Area.
July 25, 2017, Canyon County, ID - A group of businessmen, mostly from the Treasure Valley, is proposing to build a $94 million plant in rural Canyon County to turn sorghum into paper plates and other food-packaging products, and to turn sorghum waste, manure and slaughterhouse waste into natural gas for energy.The plant would be built on farmland where U.S. 26 meets U.S. 95 southeast of Parma. It has cleared several local zoning and permitting challenges. Now comes the hard part: raising money to build it, starting with $18 million for a first phase.The group has formed a company called Treasure Valley Renewables. Its members include people with experience in manufacturing, ethanol plants, pulping mills and anaerobic (oxygen-free bacterial) digester operations.The three-building plant would house about 75 jobs paying an average of $45,000 per year, says Chuck Anderson, a leader of the ownership group. Anderson is president of Boise Bio Gas and owner of QBM Management in Boise, a project-management and process-analysis company.One part of the plant would turn sorghum into fiber molds Anderson says would make a biodegradable material for producers looking to replace Styrofoam food packaging material.Neither product offers the kind of instant riches that venture capitalists usually target when they invest millions into technology companies, Anderson says. But Anderson, who has spent a career engineering paper plants for large companies, says he's confident the plant promises the kind of steady profits to attract investors. READ MORE
October 20, 2017, Green Bay, WI – The Dairy Business Association (DBA) has reached a settlement in its lawsuit against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for legal overreach on regulations. The settlement, reached Oct. 18 between the association and DNR, will bring immediate relief for dairy farmers facing uncertainty and costly changes, and will provide assurance that the DNR will create future rules only according to the law. “More than anything, this is a victory for the rule of law,” said Mike North, president of the DBA. “The DNR or other state agencies can’t make up the rules as they go along. There is a process that must be followed, and that process promotes public participation, legislative oversight and transparency. That is good for everyone.” The dairy group prevailed on the central claims of the suit — that the DNR illegally changed rules for how farmers manage rainwater that comes into contact with feed storage and calf hutch areas. More broadly, the settlement reaffirms the significance of Act 21, a 2011 state law that requires agencies to follow a specific method of rulemaking. In reaching the deal, the DNR admitted that it overreached its legal authority, vowed to follow the proper rulemaking process and agreed to rescind the blanket change in standards for vegetative treatment areas (VTAs) and calf hutches. Instead, the agency will order changes on a case-by-case basis if a farm’s conditions warrant. “Farmers’ investments will be protected by this victory,” North said. “Current practices will continue where they are working. A farm-specific approach will save farmers time and money. And we will have better and longer-lasting environmental outcomes.” All environmental safeguards for water quality remain in place, North said, noting that existing standards found in state and federal law are not changed by this settlement. “This lawsuit was never about rolling back regulations. It was about creating regulations according to a legally prescribed process,” North said. The suit, filed July 31, was a first for the DBA and came only after years of rebuffed efforts to work with the DNR on its approach, North said. The VTA and calf hutch issues were the last straws. For its part, the DBA agreed to drop a third claim related to a large farm’s duty to apply for a permit. The association had argued in the lawsuit that the DNR was contradicting a state law by exceeding federal standards that require a specific type of permit only if the farm discharges nutrients to a navigable surface water. North said the dairy group expected that its duty-to-apply claim would result in a harmonization of state and federal laws while still providing for environmental oversight of farms. But, he said, the association realized this claim would be the most challenging to prevail on in court even though there was sound basis. “We are pleased we could help secure a more certain future for Wisconsin dairy farmers and send a strong message that state agencies must follow the rule of law when creating regulations,” North said.
October 19, 2017, The Netherlands – In 2016, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported that China consumes around 28 percent of the world’s meat. A lot of this meat is nationally produced, so a huge amount of livestock is needed. News outlets report that China raises around nine billion chickens for meat consumption. But besides space, feed and resources, another serious problem is manure management. Developing and implementing safe, cost-effective and sustainable ways is necessary and the Netherlands can play an important role. Within the Chinese government, there is an urgency to accelerate the transition to a circular, bio-based agriculture. The modernization of agriculture is a prominent topic in the 13th five-year plan and billions of euros will be invested in bio based and organic waste recycling over the next few years. Manure utilization is often not optimal in China, which has negative effects on the environment. At the same time, this also offers opportunities for foreign parties to enter the market. Therefore, a Dutch mission visited China in early October to gain a better understanding of the latest developments and to explore opportunities for long-term cooperation. “China has a large demand for agri-food technology and know-how,” said Epi Postma, director of B&E BV and one of the participants. “So there is a lot of supply and demand. Agri-food is a top-priority for the Chinese government. The Netherlands has much to offer and the Chinese know it. However, active involvement of the Dutch Embassy and Wageningen University for Sino-Dutch cooperation is imperative for opening doors.” Wageningen University (WUR) has close ties with several Chinese agricultural institutes such as the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) and the China Agricultural University (CAU). Last year, WUR and CAAS together established the Sino-Dutch Livestock Waste Recycling Center. “We want to set up projects which link research institutes and the business community,” said Roland Melse, senior environmental technology researcher who also accompanied the mission. “Another good example of such a cooperation is the Sino-Dutch Dairy Development Center where WUR, FrieslandCampina, Rabobank and other companies are participating on the Dutch side.” In the Netherlands, solving the manure problem is a process that is already in the spotlight for many years. Further reducing emissions and raising resource efficiency are important challenges as well, now that the Netherlands has the ambition to become a full circular economy by 2050. Furthermore, the sector needs to adapt to changing natural conditions caused by a changing climate. Thus, getting insight on the available knowledge and the innovation ecosystem in China can also provide solutions for the Dutch situation. Of course, this is not applicable one-on-one. “Operating on such a large scale as China’s needs long-term investments in time and capital,” said Melse. “So that is quite a challenge for smaller companies.” On the other hand, the technology and tools that the Netherlands can offer are very interesting for China. Eijkelkamp Soil & Water Export, for example, “provide solutions that make sustainable soil and water management easier,” said Winnie Huang, export manager. “Looking at manure nutrient management, our technology has environmentally friendly solutions for the whole value chain. The Netherlands [is a] pioneer with this technology.” But it is not all about technology. “Rules and regulations are another important factor in further developing this industry,” said Melse. “When there are stricter laws, companies will have to follow them. For example, recently we organized a seminar with 20 Chinese CEOs from large meat producing companies and you could see that Chinese companies are preparing themselves for the future. They are interested to see which future possibilities there might be for cooperation or which products and technologies are available on the market. So the Chinese government also plays a role in strengthening Sino-Dutch cooperation.” “We hope to have government support for developing or demonstrating the Dutch expertise in manure management,” said Huang. “Our sensors and data enhance nutrient management, thus making manure a useful resource for the entire value chain. Learning the Dutch approach and adapting to Chinese practice will deliver mutual benefits to both countries in this sector.”
October 11, 2017, Madison, WI – Ten winners were honored from 30 finalists and more than 230 nominees during the 2017 Wisconsin Innovation Awards, held recently at the Wisconsin Union Terrace. The agriculture winner was Midwestern BioAg and its TerraNu Nutrient Technology, a manufacturing process that gives crop producers access to manure-sourced nutrients from livestock farms. The ceremony recognized the state’s most innovative products and services from nine industry categories. The 2017 winners were selected from a panel of 23 experts from around Wisconsin, and span all business sectors – technology, food, healthcare, agriculture, nonprofits, education, government, and the like – throughout the state. “The Wisconsin Innovation Awards seek to celebrate and inspire innovation, and highlight the creative spirit from the state’s leading public, private and nonprofit sectors,” said Matt Younkle, co-founder of the awards and CEO of Cardigan, LLC. “We want to congratulate all finalists and winners from the 2017 Wisconsin Innovation Awards, and look forward to encouraging an even greater environment of innovation in the year to come.”
October 10, 2017, Abbotsford, BC – Trident Processes recently received the Canadian Business Excellence Award for Private Businesses for 2018. The award is given annually to 25 private businesses across Canada. Trident, headquartered in B.C., has commercialized a unique process for recovering and repurposing valuable resources from livestock manure and municipal wastewater. Its technologies recover nutrients and other resources, a growing focus of agricultural, municipal and industrial wastewater industries. "I continue to be amazed at the level of recognition our company has been able to achieve the past couple of years," said Kerry Doyle, CEO of Trident Processes. "Who would have thought a small company that processes dairy manure and municipal wastewater would be receiving an award alongside big consulting firms, bankers and IT professionals?" "It highlights the importance of the work we are doing," he added. The award is presented by Excellence Canada and PwC Canada as special recognition of Canadian businesses that demonstrate exemplary performance of strategic plans and exceptional achievement of their business goals. Applicant companies are evaluated by an independent adjudication committee from organizations that include BC Business Magazine, CEO Global Network, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Carleton University, CPA Canada, MaRS, PwC Canada, and Excellence Canada.
September 26, 2017, Tucker, GA – The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) is now accepting nominations for the 2018 Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award. The award recognizes exemplary environmental stewardship by family farmers engaged in poultry and egg production. Those eligible for the award include any family-owned poultry grower or egg producer supplying product to a USPOULTRY member or an independent producer who is a USPOULTRY member. Nominations are due Oct. 16. This year, the award was presented to exemplary family farmers in five regions of the country: Northeast, Southeast, South Central, North Central and Southwest. Nominations for the 2018 competition must be made by a USPOULTRY member or an affiliated state poultry association by completing the application provided by USPOULTRY. Each integrator or egg processor may nominate one grower or producer for each processing facility in each state supporting their operations. Five families received the Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award in 2017. The winners were: Daniel Lausecker, Nature Pure, Raymond, Ohio, nominated by the Ohio Poultry Association; Tom and Kim Nixon, Glenmary Farm, Rapidan, Va., nominated by Cargill; Tammy Plumlee, Lazy J Farm, Fayetteville, Ark., nominated by Cargill; Collins Bullard, Bullard Farms, Stedman, N.C., nominated by Prestage Farms; and Gary Fuchs, Ideal Poultry Breeding Farm, Cameron, Texas, nominated by the Texas Poultry Federation. Three finalists were also recognized in 2017. They were Dennis and Yvonne Weis, Den-Yon Turkey Farm, Webster City, Iowa, nominated by West Liberty Foods; Greg and Carla Grubbs, Natural Springs, Clinton, Ky., nominated by Tyson Foods; and William and Lana Dicus, 4 T Turkey Farm, California, Mo., nominated by Cargill. "Best management practices are used by poultry growers to enhance environmental stewardship on their farms,” said Jerry Moye, retired president, of Cobb-Vantress, Siloam Springs, Ark., and USPOULTRY chairman. “The dedication and inventiveness that our award winners and finalists display each year through their environmental management practices is commendable.” All semi-finalists will receive a trip that covers travel expenses and hotel accommodations for two nights to attend a special awards ceremony that will take place during the 2018 International Poultry Expo, part of the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Ga. Each semi-finalist will also receive a Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award sign to display near the entrance of their farm. The overall winner of each region will be named at the Animal Agriculture Sustainability Summit, held in conjunction with IPPE, on Jan. 30, 2018. Each regional winner will also receive a $1,000 cash award. In addition, the farm for each regional winner will be spotlighted on USPOULTRY’s website, and the association will provide assistance in publicizing the farm’s award in local, regional and national media. Competition details are available on the USPOULTRY website at www.uspoultry.org/environment.
August 18, 2017, Indiana - Fair Oaks Farms co-founder Sue McCloskey now has a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for general awesomeness.McCloskey, who launched the hugely popular agritourism farm on the border of Jasper and Newton counties, was one of 15 women to receive an Awesome Women Award in the August edition of Good Housekeeping, which hits newsstands Tuesday. She was lauded for her work in turning manure into clean fuel that powers vehicles at the farm, as well as 42 delivery trucks of Fairs Oaks cheese and dairy products. READ MORE
August 17, 2017, Chevy Chase, MD - If there is one point on which most Americans agree, it is that technology will play an increasingly important role in the way we live and work. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that in just three years there will be 1.4 million computer science-related jobs, and only 400,000 qualified job candidates.In response, 4‑H, America's largest youth development organization, and Google are coming together for a first-of-its-kind computer science (CS) collaboration that will teach kids both technical skills like coding, and essential skills students will need in the future like, teamwork and resilience. But the program isn't just about programming computers, it's about helping students learn skills they'll need to approach problems in a fundamentally different way across every discipline from business to engineering to the arts.The collaboration is funded by a $1.5 million grant from Google.org to establish a CS program that will empower more than 100,000 young people across 22 states in its first year. The collaboration will include an effort to reach communities where youth traditionally have limited access to computers, internet or CS training. With Google's support, 4‑H will equip community educators with new funding, curriculum, training, devices and the support of Google CS experts. As with most 4‑H programs, the effort will feature teen-led, peer-to-peer mentoring.4‑H and Google publicly announced the collaboration today at a press conference at the Illinois State Fair, where they also debuted a new 4‑H-themed virtual reality Expedition showcasing 4‑H youth using technology to improve their communities."It is incredibly exciting to combine the power of 4‑H with the impact of Google's philanthropy, products and people," said Jennifer Sirangelo, President and CEO of National 4‑H Council. "Working together, our two organizations will make a tremendous difference in the lives of young people by making computer science education accessible and engaging. No matter where kids live or what they aspire to be, these are skills that will help them succeed."The collaboration between 4‑H and Google lays the groundwork for 4‑H to deliver computer science education across the organization, which reaches nearly six million kids in every county and parish in the United States. It establishes an official 4‑H Computer Science Career Pathway, which helps kids progress from casual interest in CS, to dedicated studies and ultimately career experience. Utah State University Extension's 4‑H program is a key partner in co-creating the 4‑H CS Career Pathway and developing tools for educators to implement the program."We are proud to be a part of this effort to bring hands-on programming to our nation's youth," said Jacquelline Fuller, President of Google.org. "It's important for kids to develop a wide range of skills, like computer science skills, analytical thinking and creative problem solving, and our work with National 4‑H Council will help ensure that kids across the country have access to a better future."In its first year, the program is available in the following states: Alabama, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.Parents and educators seeking more information on how to get involved can reach out to their local 4‑H office at HTTP://4-H.ORG/FIND/.
August 16, 2017, Sacramento, CA – CDFA will begin accepting applications today from non-profit organizations, California academic institutions and California Resource Conservation Districts that provide technical assistance to grant applicants in the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP).Applicants may apply for funding ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. They must meet several minimum requirements, including holding at least one technical assistance workshop, reporting on workshop attendance to CDFA, and providing computers and internet access to allow dairy and livestock operators to complete AMMP applications.Technical assistance will be made available through a partnership between CDFA and the Strategic Growth Council to achieve the mutual objective of providing technical assistance to AMMP applicants. Technical assistance workshops that provide hands-on application assistance are critical to the success of AMMP and the reduction of methane emissions from dairy and livestock operations.Organizations that wish to receive funding to provide technical assistance must access the "Technical Assistance: Request for Applications" at https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/ammp/. The Request for Applications contains detailed information on eligibility and program requirements. Applications must be submitted by email no later than August 16, 2017, 5:00 p.m. PDT. Grants will be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis beginning today.AMMP is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities. The cap-and-trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. California Climate Investment projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling and much more. At least 35 percent of these investments are made in disadvantaged and low-income communities. For more information, visit California Climate Investments. This effort is in partnership with the Strategic Growth Council which provides technical and community outreach assistance funds from the California Climate Investments.
August 15, 2017, Madison, WI - The Wisconsin State Assembly will honor of the life a young farmer who died on this date a year ago as a result of a farming accident.Mike Biadasz, 29, went out to agitate a manure pit on his family's farm near Amherst, when the crust layer on top of the pit opened, hydrogen sulfide gas was expelled. He died on Aug. 15, 2016 after being poisoned by methane gas.The Assembly honored the young resident with a resolution that acknowledged his dedication to farming and the need for best practices to be established for manure pit agitation that mitigate risk and educate the public on hydrogen sulfide poisoning and other toxic gases. The 2017 State of Wisconsin Assembly Resolution 6, reads:Relating to: honoring the life and contributions of Michael "Mike" Robert Biadasz.Whereas, Michael "Mike" Robert Biadasz was born on March 22, 1987, in Stevens Point and passed away on August 15, 2016; andWhereas, Mike attended Amherst Elementary and Middle School and graduated from Amherst High School in 2005; andWhereas, Mike dedicated his life to farming at a young age, attending Mid-State Technical College in Marshfield and Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton and advancing in the Farming and Agricultural program; andWhereas, Mike lived by the adage, "Live today like you are going to die tomorrow, but farm today like you are going to farm forever"; andWhereas, Mike enjoyed hunting and the outdoors and spending time with friends and family, and always loved to make people laugh; andWhereas, Mike was considered by many as a best friend and touched so many people throughout his life that more than 1,200 people attended his visitation to pay their respects; andWhereas, Mike will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and neighbors; andWhereas, Mike is survived by his parents, Robert and Diane Biadasz of Amherst, and three sisters: Amy (Tim) Tryba of River Falls and their children Everett, Bennett, and Hewitt; Lisa (Nathan) Grezenski of Rosholt and their children Jacob, Tyler, and Natalie; and Megan (Matt) Check of Wausau; andWhereas, Mike's legacy will live on in his family and friends, who are encouraging farmers to attend safety training classes for best practices in manure pit management and heightening public awareness of hydrogen sulfide poisoning along with other toxic gases; now, therefore, be itResolved by the assembly, That the members of the Wisconsin State Assembly declare August 15, 2017, Mike Biadasz Day and recognize that his lifelong passion of farming will live on in his legacy; and, be it furtherResolved, That the members of the Wisconsin State Assembly call upon all stakeholders in public health, agriculture, education, and training that best practices be established for manure pit agitation that mitigate risk and educate the public on hydrogen sulfide poisoning and other toxic gases. Resolved, That the assembly chief clerk shall provide a copy of this joint resolution to Robert and Diane Biadasz.
August 14, 2017, New Richland, MN - Hi-Way 30 Hogs proposes to double its swine facility located about four miles west of New Richland from 2,400 to 4,800 hogs.Due to the proposed expansion, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is conducting an environmental review and is accepting comments through August 23.The facility in Section 15 of Byron Township currently has one barn that holds up to 2,400 swine. Keith Schlaak of Hi-Way 30 Hogs proposes to build a second barn and double the size of the rural New Richland operation. READ MORE
August 11, 2017, Chicago, IL – AMP Americas – a renewable natural gas (RNG) producer and marketer, plus compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel and infrastructure operator – recently announced a $47 million equity commitment from equity firm EIV Capital. The equity commitment will allow AMP Americas to pursue growth opportunities across its businesses. AMP Americas is fueling the transformation of the nation’s heavy-duty trucking sector by providing clean, low cost natural gas and 100 percent renewable natural gas for vehicles. AMP Americas operates three business units – Renewable Dairy Fuels produces 100 percent renewable natural gas at its biogas facility at Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana, ampCNG owns and operates a nationwide network of 20 public-access, ultra-fast fill CNG fueling stations, and ampRenew sources RNG for partner CNG stations and ampCNG stations and provides risk management to help fleets and station owners reduce risk and save money. By taking advantage of an abundant domestic fuel source – dairy waste – and converting it into valuable, clean, carbon-negative transportation fuel, AMP Americas is saving fleets money, improving air quality and reducing GHG emissions. “As an integrated clean energy company with production and distribution assets across the country, we wanted a partner with proven success in both the traditional and renewable energy sectors that could help us scale and execute our aggressive growth plans,” said Grant Zimmerman, CEO at AMP Americas. “EIV Capital has an excellent track record growing energy businesses and will help us as we invest in new biogas production, new fueling stations, and in growing our team.” “We’re excited to partner with AMP Americas and to support them as they lead the way in CNG and RNG,” said Patti Melcher, managing partner at EIV Capital. “With its history of leadership and innovation, experienced management team and portfolio of high quality assets, AMP Americas is in an excellent position to flourish in this exciting and important market.”
August 2, 2017, Marshfield, WI - Mike Biadasz's death has spurred his family to help prevent a similar farm tragedy from occurring again.The 29-year-old and six cattle on his family's farm near Amherst were overcome by toxic gas released from a manure pit last year.Today, the Biadasz Family donated $40,000 it raised to the National Farm Medicine Center (NFMC) based at Marshfield Clinic Research Institute and Marshfield Clinic Center for Community Outreach (CCO) establishing the Mike Biadasz Farm Safety and Education Memorial Fund. Farmers can apply for a rebate that covers the cost for a portable gas monitor device that detects gas levels and alerts them when potentially lethal levels are reached. READ MORE
Jaylor's M1480 commercial manure spreader is engineered to be simple and robust. Cambered commercial-grade highway axles and brakes are standard equipment along with oil bath hubs, making the chassis virtually maintenance-free. Rear Canopy with adjustable door for compost Grade 100 Heavy Duty Floor Chain Hydraulic Slide Axle for on-the-fly tongue weight ratio changes Many Flotation Tire options Digi-Star 8000i variable rate control scale system Guillotine door operated by vertical cylinders
October 30, 2017 – Are you at risk while pumping out your manure storage system? Without throwing out the “here’s your sign” card, the simple answer to the question posed is – yes! Many producers know and understand the risk associated with confined manure handling systems but accidents and deaths still occur because unwarranted risks are taken as manure is being handled and removed from the confined manure handling systems. Ask yourself these questions: Does every employee understand the risks associated with confined manure handling systems? Have they received proper training when dealing with confined manure handling systems? Do you have the appropriate hazard signage posted near the confined manure handling system, warning people of the dangers? Do you have the appropriate safety gear available and have you provided instruction to employees on using the equipment? Do you have employees with limited English speaking skills? Do they fully understand the safety risks and signage provided? Do employees and family members have the ability to communicate location directions in an emergency 911 call? These may seem like simple things, unfortunately they often go overlooked. We assume that everyone should know the risks and know what to do in an emergency. Taking the time to provide proper safety equipment, while simultaneously educating employees and family members about the correct safety protocols around confined manure handling systems helps prevent deaths and accidents. So what is the risk with confined manure handling systems? Understanding that there is risk associated with manure pits and manure lagoons is important. They both produce toxic gases as the manure undergoes anaerobic digestive fermentation. The gases produced and the characteristics of each are below: Methane – is an odorless gas that is flammable or explosive at concentrations of 5 to 15 percent by volume of air. The gas is lighter than air and typically found near the top of the pit and high enough concentrations can cause death by suffocation. Hydrogen sulfide – is an extremely toxic gas with a “rotten egg” smell at low concentrations and which at high concentrations can paralyze the olfactory senses. It is heavier than air and often settles towards the bottom of the manure pit. At low concentrations it can cause dizziness, headache, nausea, and respiratory tract irritation. At high concentrations it can cause unconsciousness, respiratory failure and death within minutes. It is also explosive at various concentrations. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) – is an odorless gas that is heavier than air and often settles near the bottom of the manure pit. At low concentrations it causes labored breathing, drowsiness and headaches. In high concentrations it can displace enough oxygen and cause death via suffocation. Ammonia (NH3) - has sharp odor characteristics that irritate the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Exposure to high concentrations can be fatal. Besides understanding the various types of gases produced in confined manure handling systems, you should also follow these guidelines when working around confined manure handling systems. Manure Pits These are enclosed manure storage structures, which should be equipped with ventilation systems. They are often found in dairies as manure is pumped out to a lagoon or in confined swine operation buildings or certain types of beef finishing operations that utilize a confined building. Follow these safety guidelines around manure pits: Keep all manure pits ventilated and fans working properly. Keep all manure pits covered with appropriately ventilated grating. Post hazard signs near all manure pit entry point locations. Never enter a manure pit unless absolutely necessary and only when proper safeguards are utilized. If entry into the pit is necessary, test the air for toxic gases. Never enter a manure pit unless someone is standing by and maintaining constant contact. The person standing watch should be able to lift an unconscious person wearing a safety harness attached to a lifeline. They should NEVER enter the pit trying to rescue someone and have the ability to communicate necessary information in case of an emergency 911 call. Always wear a safety harness that attached to a mechanical device such as a winch, hoist or pulley. This is your lifeline, so the person on the outside must maintain constant contact with the lifeline. Always wear a positive-pressure, self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). Provide a powered, explosion proof air ventilation system for each manure pit that will help bring in a continuous fresh air supply. NEVER enter a manure pit to attempt a rescue without a safety harness and proper respiratory protection! Manure Lagoons They also produce toxic gases in localized layers, which, especially on hot, humid days with little breeze can cause a health hazard and potential death. Gases are readily released when lagoons are agitated to remove manure to be incorporated as fertilizer into the fields. They often have a thick liquid, floating crust, which can make swimming and buoyancy difficult if you were to slip or fall into the lagoon. Additional safety guidelines for manure lagoons are as follows: Open-air lagoons should be fenced off around the perimeter with locked access gates to keep unauthorized people or unwanted animals from accidentally entering them. Hazard signs posted at entry points warning of toxic gases and drowning dangers. Wear a safety harness attached to a lifeline with someone on the other end that can drag you out if it is necessary to enter the lagoon. Rescue equipment such as flotation devices and lifelines attached to every manure pump. Move slowly around manure lagoons as the ground can be uneven causing a person to trip and fall. Never work alone but all other unnecessary bystanders should stay away from access points or pump-out points. No horseplay allowed in these areas. No smoking or open flames allowed near agitation or pumping areas due to the explosive gases that may be present. If equipment breakdown occurs during agitation or pumping shut it down and remove it from the lagoon area before servicing. Follow the same 911 emergency call guidelines as manure pits, be able to describe the situation, number of victims, location and directions. Safety is not a choice, it is something that we need to practice on a daily basis in agriculture. Enclosed manure hold facilities are one of many areas in livestock operations that have inherent risks. However, by following these recommended safety guidelines and training all involved we can be safer and live to see another day with loved ones and family.
October 4, 2017, Madison, WI – Dairy Herd Management recently announced LWR’s First Wave System among the Top 10 Products in the 2017 Dairy Herd Management Innovation Awards. The Dairy Herd Management Innovation Awards recognize the best of the best in new products that will be game changers for dairy producers in the areas of efficiency, functionality and technology. LWR Director of Operations, J.R. Brooks says that the launch of the First Wave System was in direct response to the feedback that they were receiving from the dairy industry. “We are constantly listening to producers and we recognized that to fully service the dairy industry we needed to offer the same quality of manure treatment that you get with the LWR system, in a package that drastically reduces operating costs not only for smaller operations, but to an entire industry that has been battling low milk prices,” he said. “We also recognized that not every farm needs to make clean water, but that most want a different way to manage their manure. The First Wave System offers the same precise nutrient control as the full LWR system, and the beauty is that you can add the Second Wave Module at any time to start making clean water when the time is right.” “This dairy industry is fast-paced and ever evolving, these awards showcase the finest in the industry and the commitment industry partners make to keep the future of the dairy industry strong,” said Cliff Becker, vice president and publishing director of Dairy Herd Management. “We are pleased to recognize these top innovators at World Dairy Expo. “The LWR system was recognized as a Top 10 Product in the 2011 Dairy Herd Management Innovation Awards, and now to have the First Wave System on that list is a true testament to our longstanding commitment to the dairy industry,” adds Brooks. Entries were evaluated by Dairy Herd Management's panel of dairy farmers, agribusiness representatives and university experts, and were judged on their originality within the marketplace, usefulness and value to dairy farmers.
September 25, 2017, Lancaster, PA – Fire and Penn Township municipal crews faced an extensive cleanup operation after a September 22 crash involving a farm vehicle spilled an unknown amount of the manure. Northern Lancaster County Regional Police said a tractor towing the liquid manure spreader – filled with 6,000 gallons of manure at the time – lost control and the rig overturned. READ MORE
It seems that sales of manure macerators are up, as they can be used with different types of injectors and help address the higher flow rate of manure pumps in North America. And new designs have improvements significantly over old ones.
The sun has set on another edition of the North American Manure Expo, which was held in mid-August at the University of Wisconsin’s Arlington Agricultural Research Station near Arlington, Wisc.
September 5, 2017, Manawa, WI - Although manure provides valuable nutrients, especially nitrogen, to high N-requiring crops such as corn, proper application is key to keeping those nutrients in the soil while reducing soil erosion.Methods of applying manure into the ground without significantly disturbing the soil were presented to area farmers at the recent summer field day sponsored by the Waupaca County Forage Council.During the morning presentations, speakers noted that a large portion of nitrogen, about half in typical liquid dairy manure, is in ammonium or urea form and can potentially be lost to the air as ammonia if the manure is not incorporated into the soil promptly.Historically, tillage has been the most common method of incorporation, but tillage and, to a lesser extent, standard injection reduce crop residue cover, leaving the field more susceptible to erosion.A common goal among producers is to find new methods for applying liquid dairy manure to maximize manure N availability while maintaining crop residue cover for erosion control.One of the field-day presenters, Dan Brick, of Brickstead Dairy near Greenleaf in Brown County, has become an active conservation leader, who's committed to finding solutions that maintain environmental quality while improving soil fertility.Through the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQUIP), Brick invested in an additional 2.9-million-gallon concrete manure structure to contain manure and milk house waste through the winter until it can be spread safely as fertilizer in the spring on his 900 acres of crop and hay ground. READ MORE
August 18, 2017, Arlington, WI – The clock is ticking with less than one week before the North American Manure Expo begins.The 2017 edition of the annual show celebrating all things manure–related is being held August 22 and 23, 2017, at the University of Wisconsin's Arlington Agricultural Research Station, located about 20 miles north of Madison near Arlington, WI.Two action-packed days have been planned. On August 22, attendees can choose from one of three tours featuring visits to a local dairy-based anaerobic digester, examples of swine and dairy manure processing, plus composting and low disturbance manure application. The buses are filling up and space is limited. Tour registration costs $20 and is available online at manureexpo.org.Pit agitation demos will also be held that afternoon at the research center followed by a stop by some cover crop plots. The trade show will open at noon and industry sessions – including Puck's Pump School, a gas safety seminar plus a demonstration involving control of pit foaming – will be held starting at 4 p.m.On August 23, the grounds will open at 7:30 a.m. and feature a morning of educational sessions. Twenty-four topics will be presented in four separate tents.Manure safety and manure management tools• Improving safety practices around manure storages• Manure safety• Basics of gas monitoring equipment and procedures• Nutrient management planning for Wisconsin farms: SnapPlus software• Integrating erosion and P assessment with SnapPlus• Wisconsin's runoff risk advisory forecastManure as a fertilizer resource• Manure analysis trends and sample collection techniques• Dairy manure application methods• Secondary and micro-nutrients available in dairy manure• Maximizing nutrient value from manure storages• Microbial response to organic matter additions to soils• Use of nitrification inhibitors with manureManure application techniques and technology• Replacing commercial sidedress nitrogen with liquid manure on emerging corn using drag hose• Manure application uniformity• Replacing commercial sidedress nitrogen with liquid manure on emerging corn using a modified tanker• Nutrient separation or improved hauling logistics• Slurry seeding of cover crops• Evaluating the environmental benefits and economic opportunities of windrowing composted dairy manureManure and environmental protection• How does manure application timing impact P runoff?• Manure during winter: How to manage• Nitrogen dynamics in manured systems• Minimizing manure and nutrient transport to tile systems• Public perceptions• Can cover crops and tillage help reduce erosion and P losses?Speakers include university researchers, manure management specialists, professional engineers, agricultural agency staff, and custom manure haulers. Twelve continuing education units (CEUs) have been approved by the American Society of Agronomy's Certified Crop Advisor Program. Other state- and association-specific continuing education or certification credits are also available. They will are listed on manureexpo.org.Manure application demonstrations, including solid and liquid manure spreaders plus compost turners are also planned during the afternoon of August 23.Registration is free (tours are $20) and available online at manureexpo.org.
August 10, 2017 – Manure is a reality in raising farm animals. Manure can be a useful fertilizer, returning valued nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to the soil for plant growth. But manure has problems. Odor offensiveness, gas emissions, nutrient runoff, and possible water pollution are just a few. Timing is also a problem. Livestock produce manure 24/7 – even when it is impractical or unwise to move it to the field. Delivering manure to the field needs to be timed to nutrient needs, soil moisture levels, and temperature. How can farmers handle this timing issue, as well as other manure problems? In cities, sewers and water treatment facilities deal with human waste. On farms, manure storage lagoons can hold the manure until the time is ripe. This solves the timing and delivery problem – but what about odor and gas emissions? In addition to the inconvenience of odor, manure can release gases connected to air pollution and climate change. Methane, nitrous oxide, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide are examples. Scientist Brian Dougherty and colleagues researched methods to reduce these negatives while potentially adding some positives: biochar covers. Biochar is plant matter, such as straw, woody debris, or corn stalks, that has been heated to high temperatures in a low- to no-oxygen environment. The result is a black, carbon-rich material similar to charcoal. Dougherty says biochar is like a sponge. “Biochar provides a structure with lots of empty pore space,” he says. “The outer surface may appear small but the interior surface area is absolutely massive. A few ounces of biochar can have an internal surface area the size of a football field. There is a lot of potential there for holding on to water and nutrients.” In addition to its hidden storage capacity, the surface of the biochar tends to have a chemical charge. This gives biochar the ability to attract and hold nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium ions, metals, and other compounds. Biochar can also float (some types more than others). That attribute means it can trap gases at the water’s surface. Growing up on a dairy farm, Dougherty is no stranger to the challenges of manure storage. “Once I realized the properties of biochar, I thought it had good potential for a lagoon cover,” he says. Dougherty’s research studied two liquid dairy manures with differing nutrient levels. It also studied two types of biochars, made at different temperatures. Biochar is somewhat fickle, showcasing different properties when created at different temperatures. He also included pails of manure with a straw cover for comparison, and au natural with no cover as his control. The research found that the biochars picked up the most nutrients from the more concentrated manure with a higher nutrient content. “The biochar will take up whatever it can, so if there are more nutrients available the potential for nutrient uptake is greater,” Dougherty says. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are nutrients with the greatest economic value on a farm, but applying them in excess of what the crop can take up can lead to nutrient loss to the watershed. Dougherty also measured the ammonia at the top of each pail. Ammonia and sulfates are the main source of manure’s odor. The cooler-crafted biochar did best here, reducing ammonia by 72 to 80 percent. It also floated better. But because it floated better and tended to repel water, it was less effective at attracting and attaching to the nutrients than the warmer-crafted biochar. Biochar is currently more expensive to buy than straw, but Dougherty is undaunted. Biochar could have a good economic return: excess farm and forestry residue could be used to create the biochar on site. This process generates energy that could be used heat water and warm buildings during colder months. There is also potential for generating electricity, fuels, and other by-products using more sophisticated equipment. After its use in the lagoon, the biochar could be spread on fields as needed. Any excess could be sold as a high-value fertilizer product. And biochar has great environmental benefits. “Anything you can do to prevent gases from escaping the lagoon is a good thing,” Dougherty says. “Biochar applied to soils – particularly poorer quality soils – is very helpful. Making biochar can also help reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. A portion of the carbon dioxide that was taken in during plant growth ends up as a very stable form of carbon in the soil. The overall picture has multiple benefits.” Dougherty’s research did not avoid the obvious. Would biochar or straw best improve the dairy air? Since the human nose knows, Dougherty recruited a panel of judges. The weather intervened, however, with freezing temperatures and rain affecting the odor intensity over the 12-week trial. Despite these challenges, three different biochars were shown to reduce odor from liquid dairy manure, whereas a straw cover was not effective. “Determining the best trade-off of biochar properties will be an important next step,” Dougherty says. “More research could find the right biochar production temperature, particle size, pH, and float properties. The potential is there.” This portion of the research still needs to be sniffed out. Read more about Dougherty’s biochar research in Journal of Environmental Quality.
August 1, 2017, Ames, IA – Summer is here and it’s brought dry weather throughout much of the state. This type of weather is a great time to check over your manure management systems and make sure it will keep doing its job. A great place to start is with your manure storage. Fall application season is still a ways away, but a little planning now can make sure you have the flexibility to manage your manure like the fertilizer resource it is, and to make sure your storage will keep functioning for years to come. Proper management and maintenance is necessary to prevent manure from overflowing or discharging from a storage system. Whether the manure storage is in an earthen tank, a slurry store, or a deep pit, the basic principles to maintaining and managing the storage structure are similar. In any case, frequent evaluation and preventative maintenance will significantly reduce your risk and keep your manure where you want it. Monitor the operating level of your manure storages. Have a staff gauge or a method for determining how much manure is already in your storage. Keeping track of how much manure is there can give insight into if you have enough capacity to make it to your next land application window. If you are worried you may run short this will give you an early opportunity to evaluate how you are going to handle the situation when your storage gets full. Monitoring the level can also alert you to if anything unexpected is occurring, for instance, your manure storage isn’t filling up or filling up really quickly because of a water leak or outside drainage water getting in. Visual structure inspection. A quick look over the storage can tell you a lot about how your structure is holding up – as you walk around, pay close attention to inlet points, connections, and where the sidewalls connect to the base. To make this easier make sure you are mowing around your storage and cutting down trees, watching for animal burrows, and making sure clean water is being diverted around your manure storage structure. Odor evaluation. I know odor can be a stink of a topic, but it’s something we have to deal with. Make it a part of your routine to go around your farm once a week and make a note of the odor intensity and what neighbors may be smelling. Unfortunately there usually are not easy fixes, but for those of you interested in learning more about potential odor options check out AMPAT. Safety check. We all recognize there are some safety challenges to working in and around manure storage systems. Take the time to review your safety protocols and update as needed. Taking the time to go over them will remind everyone that they are important and to protect us. While you are at it make sure to check any fences, escape ladders, and warning signs you have posted to make sure they are still in good shape, readable, and present. Clean water diversions. Minimizing outside water entering a manure storage helps keep nutrient concentrations higher making it an economic fertilizer for a farm to use. Check over the clean water diversions around your farm to make sure things like silage piles, mortality compost piles, and in-ground manure storage piles aren’t receiving water from other areas. Application equipment. Manure equipment lives a tough life, it gets used quick for a month and then put away. Take the time to check it over now before you need it again this fall and get that one last part that you’ve been meaning to fix.
Time to clear the calendar and scrub off the rubber boots. The North American Manure Expo is coming.The 2017 edition of the annual show celebrating all things manure-related is being held August 22 and 23, 2017, at the University of Wisconsin’s Arlington Agricultural Research Station, located about 20 miles north of Madison near Arlington, WI.“Wisconsin is very excited to be able to host the 2017 North American Manure Expo,” said 2017 expo chairs George Koepp and Richard Halopka. “The theme for this expo is ‘Innovation, Research, and Solutions’ and it is driving our focus to showcase how manure application professionals, researchers, and industry are all working together to apply manure nutrients to our fields and crops in environmentally safe, efficient, and financially productive ways.”Two action-packed days have been planned for the expo. On August 22, attendees can choose from one of three tours featuring visits to a local dairy-based anaerobic digester, examples of swine and dairy manure processing, plus composting and low disturbance manure application. Pit agitation demos will also be held at the research center in the afternoon. The trade show will open at noon and industry sessions, including Puck’s Pump School, will be held later in the evening.On August 23, the grounds will open at 7:30 a.m. and feature a full day of educational sessions covering everything from atmospheric emissions to soil health. Manure application demonstrations, including solid and liquid manure spreaders, plus compost turners are also planned.“This is a great opportunity for farmers, manure applicators, equipment manufacturers, and researchers to gather, share information, and develop even more environmentally friendly and effective ways to apply manure nutrients to our cropland,” added Koepp and Halopka.The 2017 North American Manure Expo is being hosted by the University of Wisconsin, UW-Extension, and the Professional Nutrient Applicators’ Association of Wisconsin, which also owns the event. Annex Business Media, publisher of Manure Manager magazine, serves as the show manager.Registration is free [tours are $20] and available online at manureexpo.org.
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Next Generation Manure Management Practices WebinarFri Dec 15, 2017 @ 2:30PM - 03:30PM
South Dakota Pork CongressWed Jan 10, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Minnesota Pork CongressTue Jan 16, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Value of Biogas WestTue Jan 16, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Professional Nutrient Applicators Association of Wisconsin Annual MeetingThu Jan 18, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Iowa Pork CongressWed Jan 24, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM