Giving nature a hand conserving the land

Giving nature a hand conserving the land

Texan Jack Moreman, owner of Rolling Plains Ag Compost

Ranging further afield with fracs

Ranging further afield with fracs

Custom manure applicators often describe their work in colorful ways

Digester Revolution

Digester Revolution

Many would say that solids are the most critical component to handle in a digester, but water is a critical factor as well, logistically and financially.

July 27, 2017, Arlington, WI – The North American Manure Expo – being held August 22 and 23 near Arlington, WI – provides the perfect venue to disseminate information about manure handling and management to livestock producers and custom manure applicators from throughout the U.S. and Canada.Manure application techniques and technologies, environmental protection, safety and management tools, and manure as a fertilizer resource are just some of the topics being discussed at the event. Various continuing education units and credits from various states and certification programs will be available. Please visit manureexpo.org for a complete list.A veritable miniature city dedicated to all things manure-related is being constructed in a field on the University of Wisconsin's Arlington Agricultural Research Station, located at N695 Hopkins Road. More than 90 manufacturers and service providers will be exhibiting their wares as part of the annual expo's trade show, open noon to 8:30 p.m. on August 22 and 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on August 23.To help open the trade show August 22, several exhibitors will be holding industry presentations in the education tents. These sessions will run from 4 to 6 p.m. and include a foam control demonstration with Profit Pro plus a gas safety seminar with MSA Professional Services.Puck Custom Enterprises (PCE) will also be holding its Pump School that same evening from 4 to 6 p.m. on the show grounds.Many manufacturers and businesses use the North American Manure Expo to launch new products so be sure to visit all the exhibitor booths in the trade show. You never know what new ideas and surprises await you.Of course, the North American Manure Expo is more than a trade show. The event also features half-day tours featuring an on-farm dairy digester, dairy and swine manure processing plus dairy composting followed by agitation demonstrations on August 22, plus education sessions and a line up of compost, solid and liquid manure application demonstrations on August 23.There are only a few weeks left before the show so register soon. Drop by manureexpo.org to check out the schedule, sign up for the tour of your choice and learn more about the event.
July 27, 2017, Arlington, WI – Roughly one month remains to register for the 2017 edition of the North American Manure Expo, being held in Arlington, Wisc.The annual show, which celebrates all things manure–related, is scheduled for August 22 and 23 at the University of Wisconsin's Arlington Agricultural Research Station, about 20 miles north of Madison.Two days of demonstrations and educational opportunities 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.In preparation for the upcoming expo, planning officials held a contest to update the event's collectible T-shirt, a favorite among attendees. More than 80 crap slogans were submitted and the public had an opportunity to vote from the top 50. The top 10 have been chosen and will be unveiled on the back of the 2017 Manure Expo T-shirt.All those who submitted a slogan that made the top 10 will receive a free shirt.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 and available online at manureexpo.org.
July 21, 2017, Washington - The Washington State Department of Agriculture has ended its investigation into the release of fecal coliform-laced water that flooded a Yakima County community last winter, recommending that a dairy block off a manure compost pile or move it to higher ground.Snipes Mountain Dairy was not fined or ordered to take action, but WSDA will inspect the farm in the fall, department spokesman Hector Castro said.If the dairy doesn't respond to WSDA's concerns, the department could refer the case to the Department of Ecology, which also has jurisdiction over the dairy.The dairy also could face more severe penalties by WSDA if it discharges polluted water again. "It certainly would be a factor," Castro said.WSDA's notice to Snipes dairy stems from a March 1 flood that actually began on another farm.Melting snow breached a berm around a field and flowed onto Snipes dairy. The floodwater wasn't polluted until it washed into the pile of manure, according to WSDA's investigation. The contaminated water eventually surrounded several homes a half mile away in Outlook. READ MORE 
July 21, 2017, Delaware - Delaware poultry growers using freezer storage units for routine mortality management can now recoup 75 percent of the collection fee paid to have their frozen deadstock hauled away. The Delaware Nutrient Management Commission unanimously approved a pilot cost-share program intended to motivate increased adoption of freezer units.Commission members cited several reasons for supporting the relatively new nutrient management practice, including improved worker welfare, enhanced biosecurity, better neighbor relations and a creditable reduction in pollution.The commission, which has a long history of promoting good stewardship practices, already administers another hauling cost-share initiative. The state's manure relocation program, which has been operating for a decade, assists with the transport of litter from a farm where the excess nutrients were generated to another farm in need of nutrients or to an alternative-use facility."The new mortality relocation program is a natural complement to the original one," said Victor Clark, who co-owns Greener Solutions, a mortality collection service based in Millsboro. "Whether the excess nutrients are in the form of manure or mortality, encouraging alternatives to land application is one of the commission's stated strategic goals."Interested farmers can apply to the Nutrient Management section of the Delaware Department of Agriculture for the cost-share funding. The reimbursement procedure is simple:Growers must first register at www.accounting.delaware.gov/w9_notice.shtml before applying for cost assistance the first time.The mortality collection company will send its customers a reimbursement form in January of each year containing the total fees paid in the prior year.That form is then filled out and submitted to the Delaware Department of Agriculture as the invoice for mortality collection reimbursement.The payment is then deposited directly into each applicant's bank account.The reimbursement form will be added to the nutrient reduction statement that the collection company already mails annually to its customers. That one-page statement sets out how many pounds of mortality - along with the associated amount of nitrogen and phosphorous - were prevented from being land applied and potentially polluting area waterways."We thought it was important to share with the growers the real-world impact of their nutrient management efforts, so we began issuing these annual nutrient reduction statements a few years ago," said Terry Baker, Clark's business partner.The amount of nitrogen and phosphorous being diverted from land application has broader implications. A joint application by Delaware and Maryland to assign the use of freezer units "interim best management practice" status was approved last year by the Chesapeake Bay Program's Ag Workgroup.Member states can now use this BMP as part of their menu of options for reaching their pollution reduction targets. Once those interim numbers for nitrogen and phosphorous content are deemed final, all of the nitrogen and phosphorous that has been diverted since interim status was granted will be grandfathered in, meaning the states can claim those reductions, helping them to meet their overall nutrient reduction goals.Chris Brosch, commission administrator, said, "The method of crediting this BMP already exists because it works the same way manure transport out of the state works, but with more ancillary benefits."Using on-farm freezer units for mortality management is simple. Routine mortality is stored inside a specially designed freezer collection unit. A customized collection vehicle arrives between flocks to empty the units so they are ready for the next flock. The deadstock is taken to a rendering plant where the material is recycled for other uses (like using poultry fat to make biofuels), which is why the material must be preserved in a freezer until pickup.Growers switching to freezer units have been able to greatly reduce the time and money they previously spent on composting, realizing thousands of dollars a year in operational savings. They have also enjoyed better biosecurity because the sealed containers lock out scavengers and flies, reducing the risk of disease transmission. The grower, and the grower's neighbors, enjoy a greatly improved quality of life with the elimination of smells and flies.For more information about the cost-share program, visit the Delaware Nutrient Management Commission at 2320 S. Dupont Highway, Camden, or call 302-698-4558. For more information about on-farm freezer collection units, go to www.FarmFreezers.com or call 844-754-2742.
Texan Jack Moreman, owner of Rolling Plains Ag Compost, is proof positive that those who teach can also do. In fact, he has parlayed his extensive feedlot and manure management knowledge into a highly successful organic fertilizer and soil amendment business.Moreman, a retired vocational agriculture teacher with an animal husbandry degree from Texas Tech University, began his career by managing a cattle feedlot. He then spent over 25 years teaching at Texas Christian University and Clarendon Community College, where he developed and taught a two-year program in ranch and feedlot management.Six years ago, this 81-year-old launched a successful turnkey manure composting and organic fertilizer application business headquartered in Clarendon, Texas, that has since doubled in size with 15 employees. Clarendon is about 65 miles southeast of Amarillo. The company’s motto is, “Giving nature a hand and conserving the land.”“I feel very strongly about conserving our resources,” says Moreman. “I think composting is one of the better things that we do, and the area that we are in, you could have three different soil types in one field, from sandy loam, to dark clay, to caliche. Compost improves the soil structure and the ability for the carbon molecules to hold the nutrients in place till the plant can get hold of it.”A group of eight feedlot owners, who together raise about 200,000 head of cattle, annually supply Moreman with the manure he needs to make compost. The company uses its compost turning equipment on land dedicated by each feedlot to convert over 720,000 tons of raw feedlot manure annually into about 300,000 tons of compost. It then sells the compost to farmers as organic fertilizer and a soil amendment, providing the equipment and personnel to land apply it for them.Rolling Plains Ag Compost makes its money from the sale and application of the compost, with a percentage of that income paid to the feedlot owners for supplying the raw manure.Moreman says that there are two main reasons why the feedlots are eager to work with Rolling Plains Ag Compost. Firstly, when the feedlot cleans its pens and stockpiles the manure, it typically is compacted in large chunks, which makes it very difficult to land apply. Its nutrient content is also highly variable in this form and it often is full of weed seeds. Because the raw manure is in larger chunks, it usually takes a couple of years to break down in the field, which is why farmers tend to not see any value from it until the second year after application. However, by providing the raw manure to a composter, the large chunks are broken down, it is easier to land apply, and the nutrients are available immediately upon incorporation. Also, farmers who have applied raw manure on their fields have found that this material tends to have unwanted debris like pipes and cables mixed in with it.Secondly, working with a composter like Rolling Plains Ag Compost, reduces the feedlots’ potential liability concerning land applying of raw manure. Moreman says based on feedback from his feedlot suppliers, the decision to compost the manure rather than land apply it has made a big difference when it comes to dealing with organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).“Our feedlot operators tell us that if an inspector from the EPA or Texas Water Quality Board comes by and they see that they are composting that manure and hauling it out, the inspectors don’t ever bother them because that’s what they want to see done with it,” says Moreman. “But if the inspectors go in there and they have a huge pile that’s so big that it interferes with TV reception, then they get concerned.”The composting processes gets rid of many of the pathogens and weed seeds in raw manure, and reduces the volume. Moreman says that it reduces the manure volume by as much as 5-to-1. So there is a lot less material to land apply and it tends to have more consistent nutrient content.Because the feedlots feed their cattle concentrated rations, there is little, if any, roughage like hay or bedding material like straw mixed in with the manure, which actually makes it more valuable as a raw material for making compost because there is little to no filler.“Dairy manure is probably worth about half as much as cattle feedlot manure because a dairy operation will typically feed a lot of hay and silage to their cattle,” says Moreman. “These beef cattle are on a high grain ration and they are not subjected to a lot of roughage, because these feedlot owners want their cattle to eat a lot of grain and convert that to beef. That’s kind of the name of the game.”Moreman’s business operates year round. Employees are either creating the windrows, turning the windrows, or land applying the compost for farm customers.“We are either putting compost on cotton, peanuts, corn, wheat or irrigated pasture,” says Jack. “There is a crop coming off at all times, so they need compost pretty much all the time.”While there is year-round demand, there are times of greater and lesser demand. May to July tends to be the slowest time of year, after spring crops are planted.An important selling point to marketing the compost to farm customers is its ability to improve the water holding capacity of the soils where it is applied. Water is a valuable commodity to farmers in that part of Texas. Adding compost to dense soils increases their aeration and drainage capacity, and increases the water holding capacity of sandy soils. Most of Rolling Plains Ag Compost’s customers participate in a program where they land-apply compost on each parcel of land on a two-to-three year rotation.The company has worked hard to build its farm customer base, and Moreman’s background as an educator has helped. He spends considerable time hosting seminars and speaking to individual farmers about the benefits of using compost. His effort has paid off.“You can be assured of one thing that if they try it, we are going to make a sale next time around,” says Moreman.While compost has significant nutrient value, it does not necessarily fulfil all the farmer’s nutrient needs but represents only part of the overall puzzle. The company’s customers understand that. Most will need to add some commercial fertilizer, depending on the crop they are growing.   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.manuremanager.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=latest&layout=latest&Itemid=1#sigProGalleria6c70c1183b Typically, a feedlot will stockpile its raw manure as it cleans its pens and then Rolling Plains Ag Compost will bring in their own loaders and trucks to transport the manure to a drainage-controlled parcel of land that the feedlot has designated as its composting area. This can measure anywhere from 20 to 40 acres. The company will create a compost windrow that measures approximately six-feet tall by up to 16-feet wide. The windrow will be as long as required by the amount of raw manure being converted. In the past, they have measured anywhere from a quarter-mile to a mile long.The composting process consists of windrow turning, temperature measurement and moisture measure to ensure that the microorganisms responsible for the biological conversion process within the windrows are doing their job. Part of the reason for the turning process is to ensure that the windrows are well oxygenated to support the microorganisms. As the conversion process takes place, the windrows can heat up to as much as 160 degrees Fahrenheit.To turn the windrows, Rolling Plains Ag Compost uses a CT718 compost turner by Wildcat, which is a Vermeer company. With a 44-inch diameter drum to turn, mix and aerate the material, it can process up to 5,000 tons of manure per hour. The turning takes place typically once a week. After about six weeks, the raw manure has been converted to compost and it is ready for land application. Moreman says the compost turner is a large and powerful piece of equipment with a 500 hp Caterpillar engine. He adds that it is sturdy enough to break down the chunks in the manure pile.Rolling Plains Ag Compost has its own fleet of semi-trailer trucks to deliver the compost to farm customers. At all stages of the pen cleaning, composting, and land application process, the company depends on a large fleet of John Deere loaders to move the material as needed. Once the compost is delivered to the farm, the compost is temporarily stockpiled beside the field and then loaded into New Leader spreaders to land apply the compost. Rolling Plains Ag Compost owns four of them. New Leader is a type of nutrient applicator manufactured by Highway Equipment Company (HECO) located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In the Rolling Plains Ag Compost operation, the applicators are mounted on either Chevrolet or International trucks.Moreman says that these New Leader nutrient applicators are large and purpose-built. The box consists of a stainless steel bed with a conveyor on the bottom. The conveyor propels the compost to the back of the box, where spinners broadcast the material onto the land. The company will deploy as many nutrient applicators as needed for each job, but when all four are working, their customers are amazed at how quickly the job gets done.“They are also very accurate,” says Jack. “There is a GPS unit on them to ensure that you don’t leave any part of the field out, and if you do, it will tell you.”In terms of application amounts, Rolling Plains Ag Compost recommends four tons per acre on irrigated land and two-to-three tons on dry land. Once the farmer has some experience using the compost, they usually make adjustments on future applications based on the responses that they have experienced.
July 20, 2017 - Take a tour of the McCormick Farms Reclamation System. This video demonstates how the McCormick Farm is able to clean barns and recycle the sands and separate the solids from the liquids in order to recycle all the bedding. McCormick Farms values sustainable development, thus have an automated system integrated directly in the farm to keep the cows clean and reuse and recycle wastes. Cows currently are all bedded with sand, so it is very important for the cows well-being that their bedding is kept dry. For more information, watch the video above!
July 18, 2017, Freedom, WI - A manure spill at a 950-cow dairy farm in northeastern Wisconsin ran into a local creek that feeds into the Fox River.The spill was reported on Monday and a temporary clay dam has been installed to contain the runoff.An agricultural runoff specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said it's not known how much manure entered Dutchman's Creek located outside of Freedom, southwest of Green Bay.Ben Uvaas said the dairy farm responsible reported at least 20,000 gallons of manure were released from a holding pit."The farm estimates 20,000 gallons was lost from the pit," Uvaas said. "So out of that a fraction, a percentage would have gotten to Dutchman's Creek. That's probably the best estimate we're ever going to have for this."Uvaas said the farm worked quickly to contain the spill by having a contractor build a clay berm."It's fairly water tight. Those are built up perpendicular to the flow in the creek kind of like a 'mini dam,'" Uvaas said. "And as that water fills up behind the berm, it becomes deep enough where equipment like a septic truck or vacuum truck can reach in there with a hose and collect that water."Uvaas doesn't have authorization to issue fines for spills, but violations can be referred to the state Department of Justice.
July 17, 2017, Ames, IA – You might wonder what dry weather and feedlot runoff would have in common. On the one hand, the recent spell of hot, dry summer weather has caused expanding areas of moderate drought and excessively dry soils in Iowa and Nebraska. But this spell of dry conditions also makes for an excellent time to maintain your feedlot runoff control system. Extended dry periods create the perfect opportunity to remove settled solids from your settling basin or other areas where manure solids collect during runoff events. Whether it’s a settling basin, a settling bench or terrace, or even the bottom end of feedlot pens, now is a great time to get out there with the loader, box scraper, or other equipment to remove those accumulated solids and dress up the area for the runoff that is sure to return. Land apply those solids if you have application areas available now, or stockpile them in a controlled area if they need to wait until after harvest for application. Make sure the stockpile area is either within the runoff control boundaries for your feedlot, or in an area that is protected from runoff and water flow when it rains. High and dry is the short description of a good stockpile location. While you’re removing separated solids, be sure to check the liquid outlet from the settling area. If you’re using a picket dam or perforated riser to control the outflow, make sure the openings are clean and in good condition. Remember, the purpose of the controlled outlet is to hold liquid in the settling area until solids can settle, and then slowly drain the settled effluent off to an area where it can soak into the ground. Too much opening can let liquids through before solids can settle. Plugged openings can prevent dewatering and drying of the solids to a consistency you can handle. While you’re tending to the settled solids removal, take the opportunity to evaluate the other parts of the system as well. Check the clean water diversion portions: rain gutters on buildings, clean water diversion terraces, and clean water tile drains. Then check your runoff controls beyond the settling area. If you pump your effluent to an application area, check the pump, controls and piping. If you let gravity do the work, follow the flow path down the hill from your settling area and see where it ends. If it ends on flat ground in a pasture, field, or treatment area, you’ll see a few more manure solids that settle and accumulate there, with no eroded gully beyond. If it ends in a waterway, ditch or stream, your manure could be causing negative impacts and putting your operation in regulatory and financial risk. Assessment tools and advice are available in print, online, and from experts who can help. Check out the resource links on the Small Feedlot & Dairy Operations website or contact your industry representatives or an Iowa State University Extension dairy, beef, or engineering field specialist. Kits are even available from selected County ISU Extension offices to help you test water quality. Managing manure runoff centers around more effectively collecting and storing manure, reducing the amount of clean water that mixes with manure, and capturing runoff so manure nutrients can be held and used as fertilizer. The good news is that each of these practices generates additional fertilizer value for your farm at the same time it lowers your risk exposure. So seize the opportunity to maintain your system and take some positive steps to put your manure where it pays.
July 13, 2017, Paulding, OH – Farmers who want to learn more about creating fertile soil for crops and how to manage manure to improve profits, while also protecting the environment, should attend the Manure Science Review on August 2.The Paulding Soil & Water Conservation District, Ohio State University Extension, Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), and Ohio Farm Bureau Federation are collaborating to host the event.The event will be from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Stoller Brothers & Sons farm, at 9257 Rd. 144, in Paulding. Paulding Dairy supplies the Stoller farm with manure and helps with manure management throughout the year, making the farm an ideal location for the event.The field day will highlight how to use manure effectively to improve yields, understanding ODA manure application and recordkeeping rules, reducing nutrient runoff as well as the benefits that cover crops provide in the field."Attendees can learn how OSU Extension worked with livestock producers this spring to sidedress emerged corn with liquid manure using a soft drag hose," said Glen Arnold, OSU Extension Educator and field specialist in manure nutrient management systems. Farmers attach a metal toolbar to the tractor to receive manure and inject it three to five inches into the soil between the rows of growing corn. The manure in the ground is then covered with soil.OSU Extension and industry specialists will speak at the event and lead the sessions throughout the day. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences."The demonstrations offered at the event all highlight the importance of planning to ensure manure nutrients are available for crop use as well as to protect water quality by reducing the risk of nutrient runoff," said Mary Wicks research associate with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.Field demonstrations will include controlling subsurface tile drainage, manure spreader calibration, manure application, sidedressing emerged corn, incorporating poultry litter, the use of frac tanks for rapid manure transfer, and smoking subsurface tiles where smoke is blown through the tile lines to see if there are pores in the ground."Smoking subsurface tile illustrates how natural pores in the ground from things like worm tubes and soil cracks can allow liquid manure into underground drainage, where the manure could eventually end up in surface water" said Wicks.An optional emergency manure spill response demonstration will take place shortly after 3:30 p.m.Continuing education units are available for a variety of professionals including Certified Crop Advisors, ODA Certified Livestock Managers, professional engineers, Indiana State Chemist (Cat 14 and RT.) and Pennsylvania Manure Hauler/Broker.Registration is $25 per person if completed before July 24 and $30 per person afterwards. Breakfast and lunch are included with the registration fee. An online form and additional information can be found at ocamm.osu.edu.For additional information about the event, contact Mary Wicks at 330-202-3533 or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
July 12, 2017, Arlington, WI – If you're in the market for new manure application equipment, researching a manure management system for your operation, or just like to keep up-to-date on the latest advances in the industry, the 2017 North American Manure Expo – being held August 22 and 23 in Arlington, Wisc. – is the place to be."Innovation. Research. Solutions – this year's North American Manure Expo has it all," says Sharon Kauk, who manages exhibitor and sponsorship inquiries for the show. "We have an impressive line up of exhibitors for the trade show, all specializing in manure; everything from equipment to inject, spread, compost, and agitate manure to additives to assist in healthy pits and lagoons."A veritable miniature city dedicated to all things manure-related is being constructed in a field at the Arlington Agriculture Research Station, off Highway 51 near Arlington. More than 80 manufacturers and service providers will be exhibiting their wares as part of the annual expo's trade show, open noon to 8 p.m. on August 22 and 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on August 23."There are a multitude of reasons you should be visiting the trade show," says Kauk. "The networking is amazing, providing opportunities to build relationships with your suppliers. You can also get up close and hands on with the manure handling equipment."To help open the trade show August 22, several manufacturers will be holding evening industry education sessions starting at 4 p.m. Participating companies include:Puck Custom Enterprises (PCE) – Pump schoolMSA Professional Services – Manure gas safetyMany manufacturers and businesses use the North American Manure Expo to launch new products so be sure to visit all the exhibitor booths in the trade show. You never know what new ideas and surprises await you.Of course, the North American Manure Expo is more than a trade show. The event also features a morning of industry tours ($20 fee) and, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., agitation demonstrations on August 22 plus a line up of compost, solid and liquid manure application demonstrations and education sessions on August 23.There are less than two months left before the show so register soon. Drop by manureexpo.org to check out the schedule, sign up for the tour of your choice and learn more about the event.
July 11, 2017, Arlington, WI – Feel the rumble August 22 and 23 at the University of Wisconsin's Arlington Agricultural Research Station – located about 30 miles north of Madison, Wisc. – during the 2017 North American Manure Expo.The key to expo is demonstrations and the 2017 event provides numerous opportunities for attendees to view side-by-side comparisons of equipment in action. On August 22, participants can view different kinds of equipment at work on various tour stops involved in anaerobic digestion, dairy and swine production plus composting and low-disturbance manure application. The afternoon will showcase lagoon agitation equipment at work in the Emmons Blaine Dairy Cattle Research Center's new manure lagoon. On August 23, manure application demonstrations – including solid and liquid manure spreaders plus compost turners – are planned. Nowhere else can an audience kick the tires in such a large, industry-specific forum.The theme for the 2017 manure expo is Innovation, Research and Solutions and both days provide numerous opportunities to learn about all three. The one-of-a-kind trade show opens at noon on August 22. More than 80 manufacturers and service providers will be exhibiting their wares, providing attendees an opportunity to talk with manufacturers, dealers and other experts in the manure industry. Training and information 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 nutrient management software to manure handling safety.Twelve continuing education units (CEUs) have been approved by the American Society of Agronomy's Certified Crop Advisor Program for the Manure Expo educational sessions. Other state- and association-specific continuing education or certification credits are also being sought. They will be listed on manureexpo.org when finalized.Registration for the North American Manure Expo is free (tours cost $20) and available online at manureexpo.org.Update! The top 50 slogans have been chosen for the North American Manure Expo's Crappy T-shirt Slogan Contest. Now it's time for the public to become involved. Visit manureexpo.org and vote for your favorite slogan. Voting ends July 14. Everyone whose slogan makes the top 10 receives a free T-shirt.
July 4, 2017, Somerset County, NJ - A giant facility being planned in Somerset County may convert tons of chicken litter into electricity some day, but first it may need to make converts out of skeptical neighbors and environmentalists.Its critics charge that the anaerobic digester, if built, would pollute the air with methane and nearby waterways with nutrients while giving further license to the region's poultry industry to continue its expansion. READ MORE
July 26, 2017, Des Moines, IA - As one of 12 legislators who drafted the bill in 2002 that created the Master Matrix, a current member of the Floyd County Board of Supervisors tasked with reviewing Master Matrix applications, and a lifelong Iowa farmer, I have a unique perspective on the Master Matrix, its failings and how it could be improved.I support the recent petition presented by the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and Food & Water Watch because it is needed to restore balance to a system that has failed to adequately protect the rights of all Iowans, and certain precious natural resources unique to different counties, such as Karst topography in northeast Iowa.The Master Matrix is a scoring system that awards points for livestock producers who adopt additional practices greater than the minimum required by state law. Points are awarded for increasing the minimum separated distances between concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and churches, residences, public-use areas, and bodies of water. More restrictive manure management practices score additional points. The Master Matrix has a total of 44 questions that could result in a perfect score of 880 points, but only 440 points are required to get a passing grade.The Department of Natural Resources' analysis of the Master Matrix shows that certain questions pertaining to separated distances are easy to score points on and nearly every application does. Points are also awarded for practices, such as concrete manure storage structures, that are the industry standard. Other questions requiring air-quality monitoring, the installation of filters to reduce odors, demonstrating community support, implementing a worker safety and protection plan, or adopting an approved comprehensive nutrient management plan are almost never answered. READ MORE
July 10, 2017, Washington, D.C. - The American Biogas Council, the trade association for the U.S. biogas industry, praises the recent introduction of the Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Act (H.R. 2853), House companion legislation to Senate bill 988. The House bill was introduced by Congressmen Ron Kind (D-WI-3) and Tom Reed (R-NY-23) with 22 original bipartisan cosponsors. That list of supporters recently grew to 25 including Rep. Susan Delbene (D-WA-01), Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02), Elise Stafanik (R-NY-21), Mark Pocan (D-WI-02), Dan Newhouse (R-WA-4), Peter Welch (D-VT), Mike Simpson (R-ID-2), Kurt Schrader (D-OR-05), Glenn Thompson (R-PA-05), Joe Courtney (D-CT-2), David Valadao (R-CA-21), Bob Gibbs (R-OH-07), Todd Rokita (R-IN-04), Thomas Rooney (R-FL-17), Jodey Arrington (R-TX-19), Rod Blum (R-IA-01), Lloyd Smucker (R-PA-16), John Katko (R-NY-24), Steve Stivers (R-OH-15), Mac Thornberry (R-TX-13), Chris Collins (R-NY-27), Tim Walz (D-MN-01), Sean Duffy (R-WI-07), and John Faso (R-NY-19).This bill, along with the Senate companion bill, (S. 988) introduced in early May, will increase agricultural viability by helping to deploy new nutrient recovery and biogas systems that recycles organic material into baseload renewable energy and healthy soil products. The Act provides a 30 percent investment tax credit (ITC) for qualifying biogas and nutrient recovery systems."For a healthy economy, we need healthy soils and clean waterways. Biogas and nutrient recovery systems help us achieve cleaner, healthier soil and water and the Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Act will increase the deployment of these systems," said Patrick Serfass, Executive Director of the American Biogas Council. "We thank Congressmen Reed, Kind and the other co-sponsors of this bill for recognizing the far reaching benefits of sustainable farming where organic material and nutrients should be recycled to create beneficial soil products, baseload renewable energy and jobs."The introduction of H.R. 2853, and the significant bipartisan support it has already received, reflects the critical need to support economically and environmentally sustainable agricultural practices that protect waterways and enrich soils. At the present time, there are no tax incentives to encourage biogas or nutrient recovery systems. A previous production tax credit under section 45 of the federal tax code which promoted the use of renewable electricity expired at the end of 2016. This new credit would promote the production of pipeline quality natural gas and compressed renewable natural gas vehicle fuel as well as nutrients which are essential to agricultural production."By creating incentives to make biogas and manure resource recovery technologies more affordable the Agricultural Environmental Stewardship Act will encourage more widespread use of manure digesters. This benefits society by decreasing nutrient runoff in waterways, decreasing farm odors, and improving water quality," said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation.The Algae Biomass Organization's Executive Director, Dr. Matt Carr has also shared his organization's support. "By supporting investments in algae-based and other nutrient management systems, the Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Act will help farmers recycle valuable ag nutrients back into their operations and reduce the burden on taxpayers of recovering those nutrients downstream. It's a win-win for everyone."
June 28, 2017, Washington, D.C.– The National Pork Producers Council hailed today's announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it will propose a rule to rescind a controversial Clean Water Act regulation that gave the government broad jurisdiction over land and water.The proposal – expected to be published in the Federal Register in the coming days – will repeal the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which ostensibly was implemented to clarify EPA's authority over various waters.Based on several U.S. Supreme Court decisions, EPA's jurisdiction had included "navigable" waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connection to navigable waters. But the WOTUS rule broadened that to include, among other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also covered lands adjacent to such waters."This is great news for America's pork producers," said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill. "The WOTUS rule was a dramatic government overreach and an unprecedented expansion of federal authority over private lands."It was the product of a flawed regulatory process that lacked transparency and likely would have been used by trial lawyers and environmental activists to attack farmers," Maschhoff added. "We're extremely grateful to President Trump and EPA Administrator [Scott] Pruitt for recognizing the dire consequences this ill-advised Obama-era regulation would have had on pork producers and all of American agriculture."NPPC helped lead the agricultural community's opposition to the WOTUS rule, including producing maps showing the extent of the lands affected by the regulation. (EPA's jurisdiction in Missouri, for example, would have increased to cover 77 percent of the state under the rule.) The organization also led the legal efforts against the rule, filing suit in a U.S. District Court and presenting a brief to a U.S. Court of Appeals. The latter halted implementation of the WOTUS rule shortly after its Aug. 28, 2015, effective date.Once the proposed repeal rule is published, it will be subject to a public comment period.
June 16, Winnipeg, Man. - The Manitoba Pork Council has been fighting the same battle for more than a decade.In 2006, the provincial government issued a moratorium on hog barn construction, saying it was necessary because hog manure was polluting Lake Winnipeg. That message has stuck with the public, despite strict regulations around manure management and hog industry efforts to change the narrative.The pork council plans to launch another information campaign this summer to try and make its case to urban Manitobans.George Matheson, council chair and hog producer from Stonewall, said the organization would be buying ad space in Winnipeg. The promotion is needed because anti-livestock groups and journalists are spreading incorrect information about Manitoba's hog producers.Matheson didn't specify which media but there have been many stories this spring, mostly in Winnipeg, suggesting the hog industry and its manure could endanger Lake Winnipeg. READ MORE
June 12, 2017, Washington, D.C. - For the last several years, farmers have cited the increasing number of regulations as one of the biggest challenges facing their business.However, a new administration appears to be trying to change that. President Trump has already used his power by issuing executive orders to roll back some agricultural regulations, but more reform is on the way and may start at the USDA.Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is chairing an interagency task force with resetting the regulatory tone in agriculture. READ MORE
June 8, 2017, Charleston, WV – West Virginia’s Department of Agriculture says plans have been written for managing fertilizer and other nutrients on 90,000 acres in the state’s eight-county Chesapeake Bay drainage region. Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt says West Virginia is furthest along among the bay’s watershed states toward the goal, which helps restore land for productive use. READ MORE
May 29, 2017, Kewaunee County, WI - Kewaunee County is working on a draft ordinance that would require farmers to use low-pressure methods when dropping liquid manure on their fields. It's an alternative to the more controversial method of spraying.For years now Kewaunee County has been battling soil and water issues. It is an area with many concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs.Most of the county's 20,000 residents get their water from private wells, some of which have been contaminated with nitrates.The county is hoping a new ordinance will keep farmers and residents on the same page and solve some of these well issues. READ MORE
May 19, 2017, U.S. - In April, a major decision came out of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in the Waterkeeper Alliance v. Environmental Protection Agency case.Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA") and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act ("EPCRA"), both federal environmental laws passed in the 1980's, parties must notify the National Response Center (for CERCLA) or state and local government agencies (for EPCRA) when amounts of certain hazardous materials over a set quantity are released into the environment.After this notification is made, the NRC notifies all necessary governmental authorities. The statutes give the EPA power to further investigate, monitor, and take remedial action if necessary.An issue arose related to the application of these statutes to animal waste. At least two substances–ammonia and hydrogen sulfide–are emitted by animal waste during decomposition.Both ammonia and hydrogen sulfide fall under the CERCLA definition of "hazardous substances" and EPCRA's definition of "extremely hazardous substances" to which the statutory reporting requirements apply. Under both statutes, the reportable quantity for ammonia and hydrogen sulfide is set at 100 pounds/day.During rulemaking, the EPA proposed exempting farms from CERCLA and EPCRA reporting air releases from animal waste. The EPA reasoned that requiring reports for animal waste air releases was "unnecessary" because a federal response would usually be "impractical and unlikely."They noted that, as of 2007, they had never taken a response action based on animal waste.During public comment, the EPA expressly requested comments on whether there could be a situation where a response would be triggered due to air release from animal waste on a farm.In 2008, the EPA finalized the rule. With regard to CERCLA, the rule exempts all farms from reporting air releases from animal waste.Under EPCRA, while most farms are exempt from reporting, the exemption does not include confined animal feeding operations ("CAFOs").A CAFO is defined as a farm that "stables or confines" more than a certain number of animals. For example, a CAFO contains more than 1,000 head of cattle, 10,000 head of sheep, or 55,000 turkeys. READ MORE
May 11, 2017, Olympia, WA – The dairy industry and environmental groups have come up with 19 legal challenges to the Washington Department of Ecology’s new manure-control law. The Pollution Control Hearings Board, the forum for appealing Ecology actions, has scheduled a week-long hearing for Dec. 4-8 in Tumwater on the state’s Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation permits. The appeals did not keep the rules from taking effect in March. READ MORE
About 12 years ago, prompted by water quality concerns, the government of Manitoba, Canada, slapped a “temporary” ban on new swine barns. A few years later, that “temporary” ban became a moratorium on new barn construction in 35 municipalities throughout the province.
May 8, 2017, Raleigh, NC – Gov. Roy Cooper’s decision May 5 to veto a bill protecting North Carolina’s hog farms from lawsuits sets up the fourth legislative vote to override a Cooper veto this year. If Cooper, a Democrat, doesn’t muster enough votes, the Republican-dominated legislature will hand Cooper his fourth defeat. House Bill 467 was passed in April in response to 26 lawsuits pending in federal court against the state’s largest hog producer, Murphy-Brown, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods. In the suits, nearly 500 residents say hog farms have made their lives unbearable from odors, flies, buzzards, pig carcasses and other aggravations. READ MORE
May 4, 2017, Ookala, HI – Two community groups in Hawaii – Kupale Ookala and the Center for Food Safety – plan to sue a dairy operation on Hawaii's Big Island for endangering local waterways with manure.In their notice, the groups claim that the dairy manure management and storage practices are "improper" and have caused, and continue to cause, discharges of liquid and solid manure into streams flowing into the Pacific Ocean."The residents of Ookala were disappointed that the state Department of Health and Department of Agriculture didn't take action in 2014 when reports from an investigation clearly showed wrongdoing," said Charlene Nishida, member of the community group Kupale Ookala. "Our community is standing strong and we want to be in the driver's seat so we can hold this polluter accountable and protect our community."The dairy farm in question milks nearly 2,000 cows on 2,500 acres uphill from Ookala, northwest of Hilo, HI. All of its animal waste is to be stored and used onsite, including storage in manure lagoons and sprayed as liquid fertilizer on its crop fields. According to the environmental groups, residents of Ookala have observed the dairy spraying liquid manure on crop fields during high wind days, or immediately before or during rainfall. They also allege the local community has witnessed brown murky water smelling of animal feces flowing from the dairy into the community's waterways and, ultimately, into the Pacific Ocean.In 2014, inspectors from the Hawaii Department of Health confirmed manure runoff from the dairy had discharged into local streams, but no fines were issued. In a December 2016 inspection report, the department noted that the dairy's lagoon systems were poorly maintained and found there was "a high potential" of discharge. Any unpermitted discharge from the operation would violate state and federal water pollution laws.The community groups intend to take the dairy to court after the 60-day notice period required by the Clean Water Act.
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 
July 6, 2017, Haverhill, MA - Neighbors of Haverhill's Crescent Farm will soon notice a change in the air — literally.The farm, which has nearly 200 dairy cows, will begin construction on an anaerobic waste digester the week of July 10. It aims to begin using the machine to convert manure into renewable methane fuel within seven months.The digester, the sixth in the state and fourth constructed and managed by Wellesley's Vanguard Renewables, will convert roughly 100 tons of manure and organic food waste per day. "Once it's running at full capacity, the digester will provide direct power to about 950 homes in the area," said John Hanselman, chairman of Vanguard Renewables. READ MORE
June 14, 2017, Deerfield, Mass. - Peter Melnik, a fourth generation dairy farmer from Deerfield, Massachusetts, is a firm believer a farm should be economically and environmentally sustainable. This belief started him on a 10-year search for a way to make an anaerobic digester work on his farm."At first I thought I could build a small digester to produce enough electricity for my farm," Melnick said. "Then the concept of food waste was introduced to me and the story just grows from there."The recent announcement of an alliance between Dairy Farmers of America and Vanguard Renewables, a Massachusetts-based renewable energy developer, was the missing piece of the puzzle for Melnik. READ MORE
May 30, 2017, U.S. - A pair of federal efforts could make it more profitable to turn organic waste from agriculture and other sources into energy by taking advantage of the Renewable Fuel Standard.One is a bill recently introduced in the U.S. Senate that would create a 30 percent investment tax credit for qualifying biogas and nutrient-recovery systems. That would put renewable compressed natural gas on a similar footing with solar and wind energy.A separate approach, currently before the Environmental Protection Agency, aims to create a pathway that would pay biogas producers for providing power for electric vehicles.An energy consultant from Des Moines is one of several people in the U.S. trying to devise a record-keeping system that ultimately would pay biogas producers much more than they now earn for generating electricity. READ MORE
May 29, 2017, Boston, MA - For years, dairy farmers have used cow manure as fertilizer to spread over crops like corn and hay. But two farms in Western Massachusetts have a new use for all that manure -- renewable energy.Luther Belden Farm in Hatfield and Rockwood Farms in Granville are embarking on a project to turn cow manure into electricity as a way to become self-sustaining and stabilize their finances in what they say is a volatile market.The farms are working in partnership with the the Hampshire Council of Governments and Pennsylvania-based startup Ag-Grid Energy.The farms hope to break ground on two on-site agricultural anaerobic digesters this summer. READ MORE
May 24, 2017, Granville, Mass. – The Town of Granville could soon be using cattle to create energy.The town's select board plans to power their municipal buildings with credits from Rockwood Farm, which is planning to build a methane digestor.A digestor converts manure into methane gas, which will run a generator that will heat and power the farm. The farm will sell its metering credits to the town.The local renewable energy would reduce the cost for powering town buildings. READ MORE
May 23, 2017, Potsdam, NY – Clarkson University will use federal funding to advance anaerobic digestion techniques for small-to-medium-scale dairy farmers.The university will work in conjunction with the Cornell Cooperative Extension farm dairy specialists on farms working to improve manure management.U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand recently announced $500,000 in new federal funding for Clarkson University.The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).NIFA grants support research and programs that help dairy producers and growers achieve long-term viability, high yield, and labor efficient production of local agricultural products. READ MORE
May 19, 2017, Waunakee, WI - Once infamous for spills, permit violations and even an explosion, the manure digester just north of Waunakee is now receiving accolades from an environmental group dedicated to clean lakes.The Clean Lakes Alliance presented Clean Fuel Partners, LLC, the digester operator, with the Lumley Leadership Award for Lake Stewardship for its efforts to reduce phosphorus entering the Yahara Watershed."We were completely surprised and caught off guard when we were announced," said Clean Fuel CEO John Haeckel. "I would like to think it's because we have been working to make the Waunakee facility work, to sort of resurrect it from a place where it wasn't successful."The manure digester was originally built in partnership with Dane County and operated by a different company, Clear Horizons, with the intention of removing algae-causing phosphorus from three area farms that would otherwise flow into lakes and streams.The digester also captures methane in the process to produce energy. READ MORE
May 9, 2017, Sacramento, Cali. - The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is now accepting applications for project funding from the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program (DDRDP), authorized by the Budget Act of 2016.This program receives funding from California Climate Investments Program, with proceeds from the state's cap-and-trade auctions, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while providing a variety of additional benefits to California communities.CDFA-DDRDP will award between $29 million and $36 million for the installation of dairy digesters in California that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.Existing milk producers and dairy digester developers can apply for funding of up to $3 million per project for anaerobic digestion projects that provide quantifiable greenhouse gas reductions. The program requires a minimum of 50 percent of total project cost as matching funds.Prospective applicants must access the "Request for Applications" at www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/DD for detailed information on eligibility and program requirements.To streamline and expedite the application process, CDFA is partnering with the State Water Resources Control Board, which hosts an online application tool, Financial Assistance Application Submittal Tool (FAAST).All prospective applicants must register for a FAAST account at https://faast.waterboards.ca.gov.Applications and all supporting information must be submitted electronically using FAAST by Wednesday, June 28, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. PT.CDFA will hold two workshops and one webinar to provide information on program requirements and the FAAST application process (see below). CDFA staff will provide guidance on the application process, provide several examples and answer any questions. There is no cost to attend the workshops. Individuals planning to attend should email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with his or her contact information, number of seats required and the workshop location.Sacramento – Friday, May 12, 20171:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.California Department of Food and Agriculture2800 Gateway Oaks Drive, Room 101Sacramento, CA 95833Tulare – Monday, May 15, 201710:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.Tulare County Agricultural Building Auditorium4437 S. Laspina StreetTulare, CA 93274Webinar – Tuesday, May 16, 20179:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.To register for the webinar, please visit the program webpage at www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/DD.Prospective applicants may contact CDFA's Grants Office at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with general program questions.
May 8, 2017, Nigeria, Africa - Chicken is a favorite, inexpensive meat across the globe. But the bird's popularity results in a lot of waste that can pollute soil and water.One strategy for dealing with poultry poop is to turn it into biofuel, and now scientists have developed a way to do this by mixing the waste with another environmental scourge, an invasive weed that is affecting agriculture in Africa. They report their approach in ACS' journal Energy & Fuels. Poultry sludge is sometimes turned into fertilizer, but recent trends in industrialized chicken farming have led to an increase in waste mismanagement and negative environmental impacts, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.Droppings can contain nutrients, hormones, antibiotics and heavy metals and can wash into the soil and surface water. To deal with this problem, scientists have been working on ways to convert the waste into fuel. But alone, poultry droppings don't transform well into biogas, so it's mixed with plant materials such as switch grass.Samuel O. Dahunsi, Solomon U. Oranusi and colleagues wanted to see if they could combine the chicken waste with Tithonia diversifolia (Mexican sunflower), which was introduced to Africa as an ornamental plant decades ago and has become a major weed threatening agricultural production on the continent.The researchers developed a process to pre-treat chicken droppings, and then have anaerobic microbes digest the waste and Mexican sunflowers together. Eight kilograms of poultry waste and sunflowers produced more than 3 kg of biogas — more than enough fuel to drive the reaction and have some leftover for other uses such as powering a generator. Also, the researchers say that the residual solids from the process could be applied as fertilizer or soil conditioner.The authors acknowledge funding from Landmark University. 
July 28, 2017, Vancouver, B.C. - A spin-off company from the University of British Columbia is promising to make a crap job a good deal easier and cleaner, with a scalable waste-processing system.Manure management practices on local dairy farms routinely raise a stink from their residential neighbours when the slurry is sprayed on fields, as well as from American farmers who complain of cross-border water pollution resulting from excess nutrient runoff.Boost Environmental Systems, a new firm, is testing a system that uses microwave heat and hydrogen peroxide to drastically reduce the volume and the composition of manure and sewage solids. The resulting waste is easily digestible with existing systems and the liquid is a rich source of a commercially valuable fertilizer called struvite.Demonstration-sized units are installed at the UBC Dairy Education Centre in Agassiz and the James Wastewater Treatment Plant in Abbotsford, according to Chief Technology Officer Asha Srinivasan, a post-doctoral fellow at UBC. A third pilot installation is being planned with Metro Vancouver. READ MORE 
July 20, 2017, NY - On Wednesday, Aug. 9, the New York Ag Leadership Luncheon at Empire Farm Days will honor Mike and Peter Dueppengiesser as recipients of the 2017 Agricultural Environmental Management Award. Ag Commissioner Richard Ball is scheduled to present the Empire State's top environmental award to this third-generation family farm for their exemplary environmental management.The brothers' Dueppengiesser Dairy Co. of Perry, N.Y., is proof that farms can grow and be both sustainable and profitable by being environmentally responsible. They closely worked with Wyoming County Soil and Water Conservation District to meet the state's top (Tier 5) standards while growing their business from 110 milking cows and 750 acres in 1990 to today's 1,100-cow milking herd and 2,100 cropland acres. READ MORE 
July 19, 2017, Vermont -  You can tell a lot about a farm by looking closely at the soil. That's why the new, statewide program to recognize Vermont's most environmentally friendly farmers will be based on soil-sampling and monitoring. Today, Governor Phil Scott announced the pilot launch of the new Vermont Environmental Stewardship Program (VESP), which will use soil-based analysis to identify farmers who are going above and beyond to protect our natural resources.Surrounded by state and federal officials at the North Williston Cattle Company, owned by the Whitcomb family, Governor Scott emphasized the important role farmers play in Vermont communities.The program is a partner effort by the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Vermont Association of Conservation Districts, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, and the University of Vermont Extension.
July 19, 2017, Washington - The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced July 7, an award of $1 million to the Stillaguamish Tribe for an innovative project in dairy nutrient management at Natural Milk Dairy in Stanwood.As the lone recipient in Washington state of a nationally funded Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG), the tribe proposes to demonstrate successful implementation of an emerging animal nutrient treatment system for dairy farms. The technology, originally developed to address human waste in developing countries, is now being adapted to treat dairy nutrients. READ MORE
July 18, 2017, Berlin/ Williston, Vermont - The Winooski Natural Resource Conservation District, in conjunction with the Vermont Association of Conservation Districts, UVM Extension and USDANRCS, are offering a program to help small farms write Nutrient Management Plans (NMP) to meet the new Required Agricultural Practices."By writing your own NMP you can: understand the nutrient needs of your soil, learn how to improve water quality and soil health on your farm, learn how to best use your manure on your land and meet a requirement of the state's Required Agricultural Practices." The Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District is here to help you at no cost. This free program for small farms that spread manure, benefits from District staff working one-on-one with the farmer to collect and analyze soil and manure and create an individualized plan through in class instruction. Participants will receive a land treatment plan that identifies what management practices can be implemented that will protect not only water quality and soil health, but the economic viability of the farm.Farmers in Chittenden and Washington County interested in participating in the NMP class or learning more about Agricultural Best Management Practices that can be implemented please visit: www.winooskinrcd.org or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .The deadline to register for this years' class is July 31, 2017. Our updated website contains valuable resources and available assistance for farmers. In addition links to handouts, presentations and upcoming workshops on the new Required Agricultural Practices.The Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District is one of 14 conservation districts throughout Vermont. It encompasses all of Chittenden and Washington County as well as parts of Orange County (Orange, Williamstown and Washington). The district relies on grants and individual donations to complete its conservation work. The WNRCD focuses its resources on completing conservation projects within the areas of agricultural assistance, forestland enhancement, urban conservation and watershed stewardship.
July 12, 2017, Lethbridge, Alta. - Farmers know the importance of keeping the land, water and air healthy to sustain their farms from one generation to the next. They also know that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand-in-hand.Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence and Member ofParliament (Calgary Centre) Kent Hehr today announced a $1.1 million investment with theUniversity of Lethbridge to study ways to reduce methane gas emissions in cattle.This project with the University of Lethbridge is one of 20 new research projects supported bythe $27 million Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP), a partnership withuniversities and conservation groups across Canada. The program supports research intogreenhouse gas mitigation practices and technologies that can be adopted on the farm."Reducing the amount of greenhouse gases produced by the cattle sector is important bothenvironmentally, economically and helps build public trust. Producers want to operate in asustainable fashion and our study results will help them do that," said Dr. Erasmus Okine, University of Lethbridge Vice-President (Research). The study led by the University of Lethbridge will investigate whether the use of biochar, a feed supplement, in beef cattle diets improves the efficiency of digestion and reduces the amount of methane gas produced.
July 11, 2017, Oregon - A dedication to protecting the environment, maintaining good employee relations and preserving herd health has earned Louie Kazemier of Rickreall Dairy an Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability Award from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.The award, now in its sixth year, is awarded for a dairy's use of sustainable practices in areas of cow care, energy conservation, water conservation, nutrient management, and business and employee relations.Rickreall is the first dairy from Oregon to win the award. It was one of only three such awards in the country this year, and the only one west of the Mississippi River.Kazemier, who has managed Rickreall Dairy since 1991, summed up his commitment to sustainability as a constant effort "to do the right thing.""I believe that if we know a better way to do stuff and don't do it, I don't think we are honoring our purpose here in life," he said.His work on the dairy, more than defining him, he said is an extension of his philosophy on life.Among reasons cited by the U.S. Dairy Innovation Center for Kazemier's award are his philanthropic efforts to help others.Kazemier travels regularly to Uganda to instruct dairy farmers, build housing and mentor young men. In Oregon, Kazemier built Camp Attitude, a camp for families with special-needs children.In Rickreall, residents know him for his open-door policy, and the steps he takes to be a good neighbor."We are ultra-sensitive to the public," Kazemier said. "We only irrigate certain fields, certain times of the day, because of wind direction and concerns with odor. And we have an open door policy, where anybody who wants to see the dairy can come in. We bring in a minimum of 2,000 school children a year at no cost to the schools."When it comes to the environmental improvements, Kazemier worked with Energy Trust of Oregon and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to upgrade his barn lighting and parlor laundry systems, steps that have reduced his energy use by hundreds of thousands of kilowatts per year.Kazemier's nutrient management plan involves applying only the amount of nutrients plants take up, so nutrients don't leave the soil profile. He conducts water-quality tests in a nearby creek on a quarterly basis, and takes soils tests on the farm's cropland on an annual basis, just to be sure.Additionally, Kazemier provides neighboring farmer Scott Zeigler excess manure nutrients from Rickreall Dairy in exchange for feed, an arrangement that has proved beneficial to both parties.Kazemier's father-in-law, Gus Wybenga, a third-generation dairy farmer who expanded and redesigned Rickreall Dairy when he purchased it in 1990, designed it with water conservation in mind. Kazemier has refined the system to capture and conserve water, and ensure that tap water is recycled at least three times before being used for irrigation.And Kazemier has arranged with a local food processor to take excess waste water off the processor's hands, an arrangement that, again, benefits both parties.When it comes to his 3,500 cows, Kazemier works closely with a nutritionist, a veterinarian and a herd manager to regulate and monitor herd health. And he uses computer software to track daily milk production and maintain health and treatment records.Rickreall Dairy meets most of its feed needs through double-cropping ryegrass silage and corn silage and on the dairy's 1,100 acres of cropland. Kazemier supplements that with high-quality alfalfa hay, along with two byproducts from a local biofuel production plant, plus mineral supplements, beet pulp, cottonseed, hominy and corn grain, and the feed he gets from Zeigler Farms.Kazemier uses composted manure solids for cow bedding, a practice that, in addition to providing a comfortable and sanitary bedding, also provides another beneficial use for dairy waste, and he has removed exterior walls to improve air circulation in the dairy's five free-stall barns.According to John Rosecrans, the dairy's nutritionist, Rickreall Dairy cows consistently rank as an "A" herd, exhibiting high milk-production-to-feed rates, low cull rates and high pregnancy rates – all key elements in a dairy's success."This is one of those dairies where you can walk through the cow pens and they don't run from you, they follow you," Rosecrans said. "That tells you a lot about a farm."Then there are the dairy's twenty-five year-round employees, workers with an average a tenure of twenty years."People don't quit very quickly here," Kazemier said, "and I take a lot of pride in that, because agriculture is a tough business, and my guys, they know that I've got their back if they put one-hundred percent into this job."Indeed, cows, people, the community and the environment all seem to benefit from their association with Louie Kazemier and Rickreall Dairy.
July 7, 2017, Chicago, IL - The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy®, established under the leadership of dairy farm families and importers, announced its sixth annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards in a June 28 Chicago ceremony. The program recognizes dairy farms, businesses and partnerships whose practices improve the well-being of people, animals and the planet.From farm to table, transparency and ingenuity drive dairy forward, as demonstrated in the newly released 2016 Sustainability Report, which describes the Innovation Center's strategic plan focused on social responsibility. The plan was developed by dairy community leaders in recognition of the changing consumer and customer marketplace where health, environmental and ethical practices are of increasing interest.Award winners represent the U.S. dairy community's voluntary efforts toward continuous improvement in sustainability."This year's winners demonstrated impressive leadership and creativity in the application of technology and other practices that protect our land, air and water," said Barbara O'Brien, president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. "And, they're proactive about building strong relationships with their communities and employees. Based on this year's nominations, it's clear that dairy farms and companies of all sizes use sustainable practices because it's good for the environment, good for their community and good for business."Judges evaluated nominations based on their economic, environmental and community impact. The independent judging panel — including experts working with and throughout the dairy community — also considered learning, innovation, scalability and replicability.Through creative problem solving, this year's winners addressed water quality, soil fertility, community outreach, energy efficiency and more."These award-winning practices can serve as models for other farmers, too," said Jason Bateman, dairy farmer, 2016 award winner and one of this year's judges. "Winners made breakthroughs, and they improved everyday practices. It's inspiring to see people collaborate with partners outside of dairy and build on ideas from other industries."The 2017 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards winners are:Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability:Kinnard Farms, Casco, WisconsinThe Kinnard family milks more than 7,000 cows — a scale that allows them to maximize cow comfort while supporting their rural community. They retain the area's young, college-educated residents by employing them to innovate farm technology. The Kinnards are often on the cutting edge; they made a first-of-its-kind sand recycling center — one that uses no freshwater in the process — to separate, wash and dry sand for repeated use. Sand is this farm's preferred bedding material because it provides comfort and sure footing for cows and is bacteria free, keeping udders healthy.Rickreall Dairy, Rickreall, OregonRickreall, Ore., residents know Louie Kazemier as a good neighbor. In fact, his relationships are the force behind his farm's frequent improvements. For example, when solids were building up in the manure lagoon, Louie initiated trade with a seed farmer to provide fertilizer in exchange for feed. He also collaborated with a local food processor to use their wastewater for irrigation. Kazemier depends on a whole-system approach to tend to what matters — and that turns out to be everything. The results are big: for one, most of the dairy's 25 employees have been there for more than 20 years.SwissLane Farms, Alto, MichiganThis farm is 23 miles from downtown Grand Rapids, the second-largest city in Michigan. That poses both pressures from urban sprawl and opportunities to reach people several generations removed from the farm. Since 2006, SwissLane's Dairy Discovery program has taken advantage of this opportunity, offering farm tours that have reached more than 36,000 students, teachers and families. They have plenty to demonstrate when it comes to sustainable practices. After a farm energy audit, SwissLanes Dairy made improvements that reduced energy costs by 17 percent per cow. They also took steps to become verified through the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program.Outstanding Dairy Processing & Manufacturing Sustainability:Glanbia Nutritionals, Evanston, IllinoisWhile consumers don't see the Glanbia Nutritionals brand in their grocery stores, it has a big footprint as one of the leading manufacturers of American-style cheese and whey. To implement a sustainability plan, they started with a single plant in Idaho. The team determined priority impact areas, measured social presence, determined metrics to demonstrate progress and identified areas where additional resourcing was needed. By 2016, the company had replicated this approach with three more plants and adopted a global sustainability strategy that promises to "nurture, grow and sustain the lives of our employees, milk producers, customers, consumers and communities."Outstanding Achievement in Resource StewardshipKellercrest Registered Holsteins, Inc., Mount Horeb, WisconsinThe Keller family participated in the Pleasant Valley Watershed Project, a collaboration among state, local and national agencies to reduce the local watershed's phosphorous load. Results were dramatic and positive. In fact, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is expected to propose removing the Pleasant Valley branch from the EPA's list of sediment-impaired streams. Other farms that participated in the project saw economic benefits too, and this spurred them to form a group to build on the learnings. The Kellers, whose family has farmed the hills of Mount Horeb since the late 1840s, saw cost savings as well as environmental benefits.Honorable Mention: Mercer Vu Farms, Mercersburg, PennsylvaniaThe Hissong family needed a manure management system that allowed them to maintain their high standard of cow comfort while protecting the Chesapeake Bay watershed. They looked at industries outside of agriculture to devise something dairy farms can replicate. They developed a system that allows them to use manure solids for cow bedding and for compost, while using phosphorus from the liquid manure as crop fertilizer in a targeted application. Their new system eliminated greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing 740 cars from the road.Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships:Oakland View Farms & Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy, Caroline County, MarylandEnvironmental communities and farmers haven't always seen eye to eye – especially in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, where water quality is a significant issue. But these groups identified a common goal: improve the community's water quality through cost-effective projects that could be replicated. They did that with a woodchip bioreactor – the first of its kind in Maryland – that eliminated nitrogen from agricultural drainage water. An effective, virtually maintenance-free solution, it eliminates 48 pounds of nitrate-nitrogen from flowing into the Chesapeake Bay each year.Honorable Mention: Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, The Kroger Co. of MichiganMichigan Milk Producers Association and Michigan State University Extension, Novi, MichiganThe benefits of milk's nutrient-dense profile have long been established. But the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) relied on lesser-known qualities to help the residents of Flint, Mich. during a crisis in which they were susceptible to lead poisoning from contaminated water. Calcium and iron, found in dairy, can help mitigate health risks of lead consumption. Through a comprehensive partnership, 589,824 servings of milk were donated to those in need. Now there's a donation model to show this is possible in other communities affected by potential lead contamination.Honorable Mention: U.S. Dairy Education & Training Consortium Extension, College Station, TexasThe need for skilled agricultural professionals in the southwestern United States continues to grow, especially as universities across the region have reduced or eliminated their dairy programs. USDETC thrives today thanks to farmers and other dairy industry professionals. The goal: train animal and dairy science, agribusiness and pre-veterinary students on practical aspects of modern dairy management. Students study and visit as many different dairies, management styles and developmental stages as possible. It's all about growing participants' understanding of what a dairy operation entails so they're better equipped to lead.
June 30, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. - Agri-food stakeholders from across the value chain are invited to attend the second annual National Environmental Farm Plan (NEFP) Summit in Ottawa, November 1-2, 2017. As Co-Chair of the NEFP steering committee, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) encourages producers and farm groups to be part of this initiative that seeks to harmonize the many different environmental farm plan programs in Canada."Farm organizations recognize that demonstrating producers' commitment to environmental best practices is increasingly important," said Ron Bonnett, CFA President. "CFA is pleased to invest in efforts to create more consistency among the Canada's various environmental farm plans, while ensuring they remain responsive in their own regions."An Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) is a voluntary, whole-farm, self-assessment tool that helps farmers and ranchers identify and build on environmental strengths, as well as mitigate risks on their operations. A National EFP (NEFP) would not be a replacement program, but rather a harmonization effort across the existing EFP programs nationwide.Building on an inaugural event held last year, summit attendees will further develop a national standard designed to connect environmentally sustainable practices at the farm level with global food buyers' growing need to source sustainable ingredients."The NEFP builds more than 20 years of success of EFPs in the farm and ranch community," said Erin Gowriluk, NEFP Summit Chair and Policy and Government Relations Manager with the Alberta Wheat Commission. "The credibility of the EFP program has already attracted several major buyers. But the national standard will lay the groundwork for consistent sourcing from coast-to-coast while ensuring that the process continues to be driven by producers."The NEFP program is well into development, led by a steering committee comprised of participants from across the agri-food value chain. Four sub-committees are working toward developing a national protocol as it relates to data collection, standards and verification, all of which will be supported through comprehensive communications and stakeholder outreach. Summit attendees will hear from each committee, along with subject matter experts, about the progress to-date - information that will further guide steps toward this national standard.Learn more and register for the 2017 National EFP Summit by visiting www.nationalefp.ca. The NEFP is always seeking to add to its list of stakeholders involved in shaping this made-in-Canada solution. Interested organizations should contact co-chairs Drew Black or Paul Watson.
June 29, 2017, Chatham, Ont. – The Thames River Phosphorus Reduction Collaborative is developing innovative tools, practices and technologies to help farmers and municipalities reduce phosphorus and algal blooms in the southwestern Ontario watershed which feeds into Lake Erie. The project was officially launched at a press conference this week."We're determined to improve the quality of water in the Thames, and that means working with everyone from farmers to drainage engineers and conservation authorities to First Nations and universities to come up with practical, cost-effective water management and drainage solutions for both urban and agricultural areas," said Randy Hope, Mayor of Chatham-Kent and the project's co-chair.Elevated levels of phosphorus in water that runs off agricultural fields and collects in municipal drains can trigger the growth of toxic algal blooms in downstream water bodies. The western basin of Lake Erie has experienced several such incidents in recent years, disrupting the ecosystem, causing the closure of beaches and even, in Toledo, Ohio a ban on city drinking water for two days. Lake St. Clair, which is an indirect pathway to Lake Erie, has also been experiencing problems with near-shore algal blooms.Among the initiatives aimed at resolving the problem is a commitment made in 2016 between Canada and the U.S. to a 40 per cent reduction in the total phosphorus entering Lake Erie. There is also a commitment among Ohio, Michigan and Ontario to reduce phosphorus by 40 per cent by 2025."We're doing research with the goal of creating a suite of tools and practices that farmers can use to address different situations," said Mark Reusser, Vice-President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (TBC). He added that the group has gathered research from around the world and is looking into how it could be applied locally.Project partners are working to fulfill some of the recommendations made in the "Partnering in Phosphorus Control" Draft Action Plan for Lake Erie that the Canadian and Ontario governments released in March. The governments completed a public consultation in May and are expected to have a plan in place next year.The project's new website is at www.thamesriverprc.comThe project is administered by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. It was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.
June 28, 2017, Fayetteville, Ark. - Nathan Slaton, a professor in Univeristy of Arkansas's Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, has been named a Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America. Slaton, director of soil testing in the Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, evaluates soil fertility, fertilizers and fertilization strategies that promote efficient nutrition uptake by crops with emphasis on warm-season forages, such as Bermudagrass, rice, soybean and wheat production systems. He also develops nutrient management recommendations using soil testing and plant analysis with emphasis on phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen, boron and zinc; and assesses nutrient availability in poultry litter and other organic nutrient sources. SSSA Fellow is the highest recognition awarded to soil science professionals for contributions to soil science. Slaton is one of just 12 honorees for 2016-17. He earned his bachelor's degree from Murray State University in 1986, and his master's degree in 1989 and doctorate in 1998, both from the U of A. Slaton was a divisional associate editor for SSSA from 2009-13 and has been technical editor since 2014. He has also served as secretary, vice president/program chair and president of the Southern Branch of the American Society of Agronomy; and as vice president and president of the Arkansas Plant Food Association. SSSA is the largest soil-specific society in the United States. Members advance the field of soil science and provide information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling and wise land use.
June 21, 2017, Fair Oaks, IN – On June 16, Midwestern BioAg was joined by more than 80 local farmers, media and staff to celebrate the grand opening of its new TerraNu fertilizer manufacturing plant. The event, hosted at Fair Oaks Farms in Fair Oaks, IN, featured remarks from Midwestern BioAg leadership and Mike McCloskey, co-founder and chairman of the board at Fair Oaks Farms. READ MORE
July 27, 2017, McKinney, Texas – Global Re-Fuel is an energy technology company that is poised to make a significant impact on poultry farming. Its PLF-500 biomass furnace offers a pioneering farm technology that addresses financial, health and environmental issues facing the agriculture industry.Global Re-Fuel's warm-air biomass furnace – now in use on a farm in Texas – converts raw poultry litter into energy, providing heat to broiler houses while creating a pathogen-free organic fertilizer."A ton of litter has the equivalent energy content of 67 gallons of propane. Extracting that heat and using the ash as fertilizer is a really good situation, which not only helps farmers, but is also beneficial to the environment," says Glenn Rodes, a farmer who has used the technology on his Virginia poultry farm.As the number of poultry operations in the U.S. increases, so do the attendant problems. Today, there are more than 110,000 broiler houses in the country, with that number expected to exceed 131,000 by 2024, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) growth projections of the industry. More than 32 billion pounds of poultry litter were generated in 2015. That number is expected to grow to more than 37 billion pounds per year by 2024, which will exacerbate the soil nutrient overload that contributes to runoff pollution into US waterways.In addition, poultry farms require a great deal of propane to heat broiler houses, with the average broiler house using about 6,000 gallons of propane each year. In 2015, more than 8.5 million tons of CO2 were emitted from burning propane to heat broiler houses, and that number is projected to grow to almost 10 million tons by 2024, according to the USDA. Global Re-Fuel's technology eliminates nearly 100 percent of propane usage, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 70,000 lbs/yr/house."The Global Re-Fuel PLF-500 increases farmers' operating margins, decreases pollution, eliminates propane usage – which reduces CO2 emissions – and improves poultry living conditions," says Rocky Irvin, a founding member of Global Re-Fuel and a poultry grower for more than 10 years. "It's good for the family farm and the environment."
July 17, 2017, Arlington, WI - Just over one month remains before the 2017 North American Manure Expo, being held August 22 and 23 near Arlington, Wisconsin. Two action-packed days are planned, including tours, education sessions plus solid, liquid and agitation demos. More information is available at manureexpo.org. Check out these highlights from previous expos and learn more about what you can't afford to miss.
July 17, 2017, Madison, WI – Dane County is teaming up with local organizations, businesses and farmers to continue phosphorus reduction efforts in the Yahara Watershed, County Executive Joe Parisi announced recently. The new public, private partnership will allow farmers to more effectively apply manure by injecting it directly into the ground, reducing the amount of nutrients that run off into local waterways. “By using this equipment, farmers will be able to cut down on soil erosion, reduce odors, and decrease the amount of phosphorus leaving their fields,” said Parisi. “Our partnership reflects a unified effort between local leaders and businesses to ensure the Yahara Watershed stays clean and healthy, while providing farmers with the innovative tools they need to succeed in an environmentally friendly way.” In the agreement, Dane County and the Yahara Watershed Improvement Network (Yahara WINS) will each allocate up to $60,000 to purchase a manure tanker and Low Disturbance Manure Injection (LDMI) toolbar. Yahara Pride Farms will rent a tractor from Carl F. Statz and Sons Inc., a farm implement dealer based in Waunakee, to haul the tanker and LDMI bar across each participant’s property. Yahara WINS is led by the Madison Metropolitan Sewage District and will use funds from the Clean Lakes Alliance to finance its share of the endeavor. “Yahara WINS is pleased to partner with the Yahara Pride Farm Group, Dane County and the Clean Lakes Alliance to provide opportunities for farmers to gain experience with low disturbance manure injection –an approach that will improve water quality by reducing the amount of phosphorus reaching our streams, rivers and lakes,” said Dave Taylor, consulting director for Yahara WINS. Yahara Pride Farms is a farmer-led, nonprofit organization and was the first to bring this minimal soil disturbance technology for manure to Wisconsin farmers. To date, the program has covered over 3,600 acres of land and reduced 5,500 pounds of phosphorus on the Yahara Watershed using this manure technique. In 2016 alone, Yahara Pride Farms’ low disturbance manure injection resulted in an estimated 1,100 pounds of phosphorus savings from more than 1,200 acres of land. “Farmers are leading progress toward collective water quality goals in the Yahara Watershed,” said Jeff Endres, chairman of Yahara Pride Farms. “Managing how nutrient-rich manure is applied to farm fields is a key component to achieving these goals.” Last year, Dane County implemented and tracked more than 313 conservation practices and systems, resulting in 18,392 pounds of phosphorus being reduced in the Yahara Watershed. Under this new partnership, the manure injector is projected to reduce 1.5 pounds of phosphorus per acre of land each year. Participants of the program will be charged a fee to cover operator costs, tractor rental, repair and maintenance, scheduling and insurance. To reduce participant expenses, Dane County developed a cost share program for individual farmers and custom haulers to purchase the LDMI toolbar. Currently, two cost share agreements totaling $46,495.50 have been approved to purchase the toolbar equipment. The Yahara WINS executive committee approved the grant request to fund 50 percent of the costs for a tanker and LDMI toolbar with funds from the Clean Lakes Alliance in June. The Dane County board of supervisors is currently reviewing a resolution committing up to $60,000 in county dollars to match the committee’s funds. Yahara Pride Farms will provide an annual report to the Dane County Land Conservation Division and Yahara WINS detailing treated field locations, number of acres covered, and pounds of phosphorus reduced. Previously, Yahara Pride Farms partnered with a local equipment dealer to provide a tanker and LDMI toolbar for individual farmers to use and gain experience with the technology.
June 23, 2017, Arlington, WI – 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, compost turners, plus a manure spill recovery, 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.In preparation for the upcoming expo, planning officials are updating the event's collectible T-shirt, a favorite among attendees. The top 50 slogans received – as decided by expo planners – will be voted on by the public (VOTE NOW!) with the top 10 going on the back of the 2017 Manure Expo T-shirt.Anyone who submits a slogan that makes the T-shirt will receive a free shirt.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 and available online at agannex.com/manure-manager/manure-expo.
July 6, 2017, New York - If you buy a house on the 9 million acres of agricultural districts in New York state, you sign a disclosure form that says the farmers near you have the "right to farm" even when it causes noise, dust and odors.Still, when a farmer decides to build a lagoon to store millions of gallons of liquid manure, the neighbors are often disappointed to find out they have little say in the matter. They can also be shocked to hear that government sometimes requires manure storage and even helps pay for it.Since 1994, 461 manure storages have been built with state financial help, according to the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets. Others are privately or federally funded.The "Right to Farm" is a state law that protects 25,316 farms on 6.5 million of those 9-million acres of agricultural districts. The rest of that land is occupied by people who do not farm.Mike McMahon, of McMahon's EZ Acres in Homer, allowed us to fly a drone over the lagoon on his dairy farm and explained how it was designed.McMahon, other farmers and government officials say storage is the best practice to protect the environment from runoff.Storage allows farmers to spread manure on fields on only the best days - when the soil is dry and less likely to run off of wet and frozen ground into lakes and streams. READ MORE
July 5, 2017, Greenville, OH - With corn needing nitrogen, and pigs and cattle producing a lot of it, anything that offers a better way to use their waste to fortify crops should intrigue farmers.Two agriculture experts at The Ohio State University have redesigned a metal tractor attachment so that it allows farmers to put manure on a field while crops are emerging.Applying manure to growing crops, which is not widely done in Ohio or nationwide, can boost yields, reduce nutrient losses, and give livestock producers and commercial manure applicators another window of time to unload their waste and enrich their crops.Made by Bambauer Equipment in New Knoxville, Ohio, the metal toolbar, which is attached to a tractor, receives waste pumped through a hose from a livestock facility manure pit. The manure is fed through the toolbar, which injects the manure 3 to 5 inches into the soil between the rows of growing corn, then covers the manure with soil.The manure sidedress toolbar attachment was built with contributions from the Columbus Foundation, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Goodfield, Illinois-based DSI Inc., a manufacturer of manure and nitrogen injection systems.While draglining manure, a process that involves applying manure through a hose that pumps it directly from the livestock facility, is not new to many Ohio farmers, it is rarely used to apply manure on a growing crop."During the growing season, farmers have been concerned that running machinery over a field with an emerging crop could crush the crop and compact the soil, leaving less space among the soil particles for easy flow of water, air and nutrients," said Glen Arnold, a manure management specialist with Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of the university's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Arnold designed the modified toolbar with Sam Custer, an OSU Extension educator in Darke County.Traditionally the manure of pigs and cattle, which is primarily liquid, is applied on the surface of fields in fall, after harvest. But without a growing crop on the field to take in the nutrients, much of the nitrogen either runs off the field or percolates through the soil uncaptured, Arnold said."A growing crop will reach out and grab much of that nitrogen," Arnold said. "It will love it."In recent years, there has been increased interest in applying livestock manure on newly planted corn and soybean fields to foster their growth and provide another chance for farmers with pigs or cattle to use their accumulating animal waste.For the past five years, Arnold has conducted research on methods of doing that. Initially, he used a tanker filled with liquid manure that was applied to young corn fields in several western Ohio counties. But the dragline and manure sidedress toolbar, compared to a tanker, weigh less and are faster and more efficient, Arnold pointed out. Also, the dragline and toolbar cause very few plants to be crushed to death.For three years, the manure sidedress toolbar has been tested on fields in Darke County, which annually produces the second highest number of hogs across the state – and a whole lot of manure. The manure sidedressed fields produced 13 more bushels of corn per acre compared to fields where synthetic fertilizers were applied, Arnold said.The savings in using manure instead of synthetic fertilizer are about $80 an acre, he said."There's always a cost to the livestock farmer to apply manure to farm fields. By capturing more of the nitrogen in the manure, the farmer can reduce the need to purchase commercial fertilizer and make a bigger profit," he said.While the manure sidedress toolbar can also be used on fields of soybeans and wheat, corn needs the most nitrogen, Arnold said.Some Ohio farmers are concerned that the dragline could kill some of the newly emerging plants, by crushing them as it is pulled through the field, Custer said.But the research on the Darke County fields does not show that, Custer said. When corn is about 3 inches high, running a dragline hose across a field is not going to hurt the corn though it may initially appear to be bent over after the dragline goes across the field, Custer said."In a week's time, they'll be standing right back up," he said.Ohio farmers interested in trying the manure sidedress toolbar can do so for free to see how it might work on their fields."We want to put it in more farmers' hands," Custer said. "We want to see more farmers using manure as a nutrient rather than seeing it as a waste product."Anyone who wants to try the manure sidedress toolbar can contact Arnold at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by calling 419-235-4724. Darke County farmers can contact Sam Custer at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by calling 937-548-5215.For more information about the manure sidedress toolbar and to watch a video on it, see go.osu.edu/manureapplicator.
July 4, 2017, Arlington, WI – The 2017 North American Manure Expo – taking place August 22 and 23 at the University of Wisconsin's Arlington Agricultural Research Station near Arlington, Wisc. – provides the perfect opportunity for custom applicators and livestock producers to advance their knowledge of manure-nutrient utilization while showcasing the latest technology in manure handling, treatment and application.Attendees can see the latest in innovation, research and manure management solutions by taking part in one of three tours scheduled for August 22.Tours cost $20 to attend, which includes transportation and lunch. To help with logistics, preregistration is required and can be done by visiting manureexpo.org.Tours include:Tour #1 – Statz Brothers Inc, Sun Prairie, Wisc.Visit a second-generation owned and operated dairy operation featuring two plug-flow anaerobic digesters that process the manure from 4,000 cows. The farm also recycles the leftover manure solids as bedding and has a 20 million gallon liquid manure storage structure. Statz Brothers hosted the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days in 2015 and grows 6,000 acres of corn, alfalfa, wheat and soybeans.Tour #2 – Arlington Agricultural Research Station, Arlington, Wisc.The 2,000-acre Arlington station is home to the University of Wisconsin's Emmons Blaine Dairy Cattle Research Center, which houses 430 milking cows, 100 dry cows and more than 50 calves. Tour attendees will visit the operation's sand bedding processing and recycling center. They will also visit the UW Swine Research and Teaching Center's manure settling system where the liquid portion of the manure is applied through irrigation. There will also be an opportunity to visit the research station's manure runoff study plots.Tour #3 – Endres Berryridge Farm, Waunakee, Wisc.Learn more about composting manure and bedded pack systems. Attendees will hear about windrowing and composting dairy manure under roof, topdressing alfalfa fields using compost and recycling composted dairy manure as bedding.All tours will leave from the North American Manure Expo site at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station, N695 Hopkins Road, Arlington. Check-in starts at 8 a.m. with buses departing by 9 a.m. Don't be late or you could forfeit your seat on the tour.After the tours, all attendees will have lunch at the research center's Public Events Building. Following lunch, they will return to the show grounds for the opening of the trade show plus an agitation demonstration at the center's dairy lagoon, scheduled for 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. The show grounds will be open until 8 p.m.Tour attendees are invited back for day two of the expo 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, compost turners, plus a manure spill recovery, are also planned.Registration is free and available online at agannex.com/manure-manager/manure-expo.
June 30, 2017, Arlington, WI – The 2017 North American Manure Expo – taking place August 22 and 23 at the University of Wisconsin's Arlington Agricultural Research Station near Arlington, Wisc. – provides the perfect opportunity for custom applicators and livestock producers to advance their knowledge of manure-nutrient utilization while showcasing the latest technology in manure handling, treatment and application.Attendees can see the latest in innovation, research and manure management solutions by taking part in one of three tours scheduled for August 22.Tours cost $20 to attend, which includes transportation and lunch. To help with logistics, preregistration is required and can be done by visiting manureexpo.org.Tours include:Tour #1 – Statz Brothers Inc, Sun Prairie, Wisc.Visit a second-generation owned and operated dairy operation featuring two plug-flow anaerobic digesters that process the manure from 4,000 cows. The farm also recycles the leftover manure solids as bedding and has a 20 million gallon liquid manure storage structure. Statz Brothers hosted the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days in 2015 and grows 6,000 acres of corn, alfalfa, wheat and soybeans.Tour #2 – Arlington Agricultural Research Station, Arlington, Wisc.The 2,000-acre Arlington station is home to the University of Wisconsin's Emmons Blaine Dairy Cattle Research Center, which houses 430 milking cows, 100 dry cows and more than 50 calves. Tour attendees will visit the operation's sand bedding processing and recycling center. They will also visit the UW Swine Research and Teaching Center's manure settling system where the liquid portion of the manure is applied through irrigation. There will also be an opportunity to visit the research station's manure runoff study plots.Tour #3 – Endres Berryridge Farm, Waunakee, Wisc.Learn more about composting manure and bedded pack systems. Attendees will hear about windrowing and composting dairy manure under roof, topdressing alfalfa fields using compost and recycling composted dairy manure as bedding.All tours will leave from the North American Manure Expo site at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station, N695 Hopkins Road, Arlington. Check-in starts at 8 a.m. with buses departing by 9 a.m. Don't be late or you could forfeit your seat on the tour.After the tours, all attendees will have lunch at the research center's Public Events Building. Following lunch, they will return to the show grounds for the opening of the trade show plus an agitation demonstration at the center's dairy lagoon, scheduled for 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. The show grounds will be open until 8 p.m.Tour attendees are invited back for day two of the expo 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, compost turners, plus a manure spill recovery, are also planned.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 and available online at agannex.com/manure-manager/manure-expo.Don't forget to vote! The North American Manure Expo's crappy T-shirt contest is on now. Vote here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/33RMZXT
June 26, 2017 - There was plenty of new equipment to look at in the muck area where solid spreaders were put through their paces with FYM and slurry equipment was paraded to show applicator folding and tanker transport systems.The emphasis of many developments was increasingly on the ability to control applications in order to better make use of the nutrients in muck and slurry, and record those applications for traceability and future nutrient planning.The growing trend to engage contractors to spread muck has also led to machinery becoming higher in capacity and increasingly heavy duty to cope with increased workloads and more powerful tractors. READ MORE
Custom manure applicators often describe their work in colorful ways, using such terms as “traveling circus” and “hopscotch system” to explain what they do on a day-to-day basis. Lately, many have added a new term to their vocabulary and that is “frac tank.”
May 11, 2017, Madison County, OH – A new hog barn in Madison County has thousands of color-changing LED lights, sophisticated computer ventilation controls and an automated feeding system that can serve thousands of pigs with the flip of a switch, but it is what lies 10 feet beneath the 733-foot-long barn that is exciting. Two large pipes jutting out of one end of the barn – the visible piece of a system called mass agitation – allow the farm team to pump 7,000 gallons of water a minute into the pit beneath the barn where the excretions of 5,000 or so pigs collect. The water, which feeds through the two pipes and into other branches throughout the pit, stirs things up, which should make for better manure to spread on farm fields and also reduce the smell. READ MORE
In 2015, Manure Manager reported on the dribble bar, a method of applying liquid manure for dragline units that is very popular in Europe, with thousands of units sold there by its Germany-based manufacturer, Vogelsang, which has a U.S. office in Ravenna, Ohio.

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