Preserving and regenerating the land

Preserving and regenerating the land

Iowa’s Smith family, owners of SFI Inc, have been on a decades-long quest

Poultry power in America’s Broiler Belt

Poultry power in America’s Broiler Belt

North Carolina is described as the heart of the “American Broiler Belt.”

Chicken litter is natural  fit for field fertility

Chicken litter is natural fit for field fertility

People in the poultry industry have been on the fast-track

February 15, 2018, Tillamook, OR – An Oregon dairy has been fined $16,800 for a massive manure spill that shut down Tillamook Bay last spring. About 190,000 gallons of liquid manure were released from an above-ground storage tank at the dairy operation on April 12, 2017, the Oregon Department of Agriculture said. The manure pooled in a field near the dairy barns, flowed across three other landowners’ properties, and ended up in a slough that connects to a drainage system that pumps water into the Tillamook River, which then enters the bay. READ MORE
February 13, 2018, Minneapolis, MN – It may be hard to imagine spring coming anytime soon with the recent arctic temperatures, but in a few short months it’ll be time to apply nutrients for the upcoming crops. If you plan to apply manure, now is the time to start mapping out your plans for the year to save headaches down the road. Here are some tips to get you started on your plans and for applying manure this spring: Inspect equipment. Make sure everything is functioning properly. To avoid leaks or spills, replace or repair anything that needs fixed. Get your manure sampled and analyzed, or find your most recent manure analysis. This will give you an accurate idea of how many nutrients are available to you. Plan applications for each field. Calculate your application rates using the nutrient needs of your upcoming crop (based on the University of Minnesota recommendations) and your manure nutrient analysis. Subtract out any nutrient credits from manure applied in the past 3 years or from legumes grown in the past year. Determine any setbacks needed in fields. This includes streams, ditches, lakes, tile inlets and sinkholes. Also mark locations of sensitive features to avoid. Put together an Emergency Action Plan. Make a list of emergency contacts in case of a leak or spill and think of ways that you could possibly contain a spill so that you can have the appropriate tools on hand. Tips for manure application: Monitor the weather. Avoid applying immediately before a predicted rainfall. Avoid wet or frozen fields. Manure can very easily run off of a frozen field, especially in spring rains. On fields that are wet, adding manure (which has liquid in it) will only increase the likelihood of runoff or the start of tile flow. You are also more likely to cause soil compaction in wet conditions. Apply manure according to calculated rates. Do not overapply! Nutrients are less likely to be lost to our waterways when applied at appropriate rates. Monitor equipment for leaks. Have equipment handy for stopping leaks and for cleanup. Know the numbers you need to call if there is a spill. Keep records. Always note the field location, manure source and amount applied. Keep records on file for at least three years. For the latest nutrient management information, visit the UMN Extension Nutrient Management website.
February 7, 2018, Winnipeg, Man – A scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada says tailoring ration formulations to the needs of each pig will lower feeding costs and reduce the environmental impact of manure. As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc, Canadian scientists are developing a precision feeding system that will tailor the ration to match the nutritional needs of each individual pig. Dr. Candido Pomar, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, says by supplying one diet that meet the needs of the least productive pigs, the producer ends up overfeeding the more productive pigs. “We have to look at nutrient requirements from two different points of view,” says Dr. Pomar. “One is when we are looking to a given animal or when we are feeding a group of animals the definition of nutrient requirements is very different. Feeding one pig at a given time is not the same thing as feeding a large group of pigs during a long period of time. We have to understand that estimating nutrient requirements, we are addressing the issue of one animal, why are we using that to feed groups of animals?” “When you over supply the nutrients, you are using important resources that finally ends in manure so this is very expensive,” he adds. “Today the farmers are challenged to reduce feeding costs.” “Feed costs represent 60 to 70 percent of the cost of producing a hog. So optimizing the level of nutrients, knowing how much the pigs need we can reduce costs. Reducing costs, we are [also] reducing the environmental impact because all the nutrients they giving in excess finish always in the same way, in manure.” Dr. Pomar says early indications are that by personalizing formulations for each pig, we can produce the same amount of meat with 25 percent less protein, dramatically reducing feed costs.
February 5, 2018, Georgetown, DE — A Maryland company has been trying to get approval to build a new facility that would process chicken litter and convert it into energy and other agricultural byproducts. But public opposition has already derailed plans to build the facility in Crisfield, Maryland, where the City Council denied permission at a Jan. 10 meeting. READ MORE
February 5, 2018, Lohrville, IA — A hog producer in Calhoun County has agreed to pay a $3,000 penalty after the Iowa Department of Natural Resources said a manure release killed about two acres of corn in a neighbor’s field. The DNR received a complaint on July 18, 2017, from the neighbor who said manure from the facility was running into his field, according to a consent order from the DNR. READ MORE
February 1, 2018, Sacramento, CA – The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has awarded $9.64 million in grant funding to 17 alternative manure management projects across the state. These projects, part of the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP), will reduce greenhouse gas emissions on California dairy farms and livestock operations by using manure management practices that are alternatives to dairy digesters (i.e. non-digester projects). The winning projects can be viewed here. When livestock manure decomposes in wet conditions, it produces methane, a greenhouse gas 72 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Changing manure management practices so that manure is handled in a dry form can help significantly reduce methane emissions. These reductions contribute to the state’s overall short-lived climate pollutant strategy under Senate Bill 1383, which aims to reduce California’s methane emissions to 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030. “California dairy farmers are leading the way in proactively addressing greenhouse gas emissions” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “I am excited to see both the diversity of farms and the variety of non-digester manure management practices being adopted through these projects that will help meet the state’s climate goals.” Financial assistance for the implementation of non-digester practices comes from California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that uses Cap-and-Trade program funds to support the state’s climate goals. CDFA and other state agencies are investing these proceeds in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide additional benefits to California communities. AMMP grant recipients will provide an estimated $2.7 million in matching funds for the development of their projects. Information about the 2017 Alternative Manure Management Program projects is available at https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/AMMP/ .
January 26, 2018, Storrs, CT – Understanding the source of contaminants in waterways is crucial for public health and safety, and a University of Connecticut professor is developing an easy way to do just that. All contamination will eventually find its way downstream. In Connecticut that means it may travel through neighborhoods where residents swim, to larger recreational areas such as beaches, and eventually to the Long Island Sound and shellfish beds. And, without knowing the exact source of the problem, the contamination can’t be addressed. John Clausen of University of Connecticut’s Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, is now testing a protocol he developed to find the source. Clausen started this project almost by chance when he realized that a method had not yet been developed. “I discovered that no one has perfected the technique for being able to look at a water sample, find E. coli and tell you where it came from, so that’s my quest,” he says. The first step toward this goal was to identify the streams to monitor, which was a rigorous process, says Clausen. While there are plenty of waterways in the state that are contaminated – 200 in 2016, according to Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection – the streams needed to pass by farmland. Farm animals and animals, in general, are often the source of the contamination. So Clausen started in the Thames river Basin, initially picking more than 30 sites and then narrowing that number down to 10 streams. Once the sites were chosen, Clausen installed a type of water sampler at each location to collect samples whenever there is a significant rainfall event. “When you get one-to-two inch storms, you really get high E. coli values,” says Clausen. To help with the collection efforts, the researchers coordinated volunteers to collect and deliver the water samples from all of the sites after heavy rain events. Clausen says they’ve become very good at watching the weather to determine when to collect samples. Then the samples with high contamination are sent to a lab to quantify the level of coliform bacteria from animal sources. Now Clausen is designing tests for E. coli specifically. He and his team of student researchers are developing tests for chicken, horse, cow and human sources. The process involves collecting fecal samples, isolating the bacteria and their DNA, pinpointing species specific markers to target and then working out the fine details to optimize the tests. “We are now in the statistics part of development. This winter we’ll be sequencing to see how well our tests match up with the bacteria in the water samples,” says Clausen. The overall goal is to identify producers and sources of contamination so remediation efforts can be put in place. Clausen points out that industry already has best practices to reduce E. coli in waterways from agricultural sources, manure management being one of those. When manure is not handled properly, for example, bacteria-rich runoff can easily make its way into our waterways. “Just storing manure in holding tanks is very effective. There is a die-off period for pathogens, after which the manure can be spread more safely,” Clausen says. Unfortunately for farmers, holding tanks are pricey and other best practices are not always easy to carry out. But fortunately in the case of E. coli, unlike that for other types of runoff such as fertilizers, the E. coli that make their way into the watershed don’t seem to persist for quite so long. Once bacterial source tracking is available and sources of contamination are identified, remediation efforts could potentially have a big impact on returning streams to safe levels fairly quickly. “I’ve already had officials ask if we can start testing,” says Clausen. “We’re not there yet, but I think we’re close.”
January 25, 2018, Des Moines, IA – The air leaving Iowa hog confinements contains manure and should be illegal under state law, according to a petition filed with the state. Four northeast Iowa residents want the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to regulate the release of manure through the air in the same way it regulates the release of liquid manure. The state requires that manure be retained until it's applied as fertilizer to farm fields, the petition says. READ MORE
January 23, 2018, Auburn, NY – A manure overflow in the town of Venice, NY, impacted Salmon Creek earlier this month, but it was not seen in Cayuga Lake, nor did it affect residents' water supplies, according to state and local officials. The NY Department of Environmental Conservation said it was notified of a manure spill on Jan. 10 at Indian Field Road due to a mechanical failure in farm equipment. READ MORE
January 22, 2018, Madison, WI – The University of Wisconsin-Extension and the Department of Natural Resources are co-hosting a series of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) update meetings throughout Wisconsin in early February. The meetings are specifically designed for WPDES permitted CAFO owners/managers, producers considering expansion, nutrient management plan writers and engineers. Each meeting will provide information on new policies, proper spill response, manure hauling, day-storage calculations and will feature a DNR panel. The forums are slated to be held throughout the state in the coming weeks. Nutrient management plan writers and engineers working on large farms are also invited to attend. The meetings will be held on the follow dates and locations: February 5: Tundra Lodge Conference Center, Green Bay February 5: Crystal Falls Banquet Hall, New London February 6: Silver Valley Banquet Hall, Manitowoc February 6: University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac, Fond du Lac February 8: County Building, Dodgeville February 9: UW-Extension office, Jefferson February 12: UW-Marshfield Ag Research Station, Marshfield February 13: Clarion Hotel, Eau Claire Wisconsin has more than 250 CAFO farms throughout the state and these meetings offer an opportunity for owners, managers, advisors, and other CAFO stakeholders to receive updated information to help meet permit requirements. The meetings also provide an opportunity for permittees to learn about new report submission processes and learn how to avoid common errors and problems. Each meeting also features a local topic of interest such as prairie buffer strips, automated calf feeding, CAFO community outreach, nitrogen application, human resource management, and environmental efforts. More information on the meetings and individual meeting brochures can be accessed at https://conservation-training.uwex.edu/news/2018-annual-cafo-update-meetings. To pre-register for any of the workshops, call UW-Extension at 920-391-4652.
January 19, 2018, Derbyshire, UK – A British motorist learned a lesson in manners the hard way recently after trying to overtake a tractor pulling a manure tanker on a busy road. According to a report in the Derby Telegraph, as the driver tried to overtake the tractor, the vehicle collided with the slurry outlet on the tanker. Unable to detach from the outlet, the tractor dragged the car along the road. Even more alarming was the fact the car began to fill with pig manure. The Derbyshire Roads Police Unit was met with a bit of a mess when they arrived to investigate the collision on the A515. But they had lots of fun posting photos of the incident on Twitter with the punch line: “Think you have had a bad day?”
January 18, 2018, Kewaunee, WI – Kewaunee County officials Jan. 16 declined to pursue a moratorium on dairy herd expansion, saying it could hamper recent progress toward groundwater protection. Corporation Counsel Jeff Wisnicky told the county Land & Water Conservation Committee that enforcement of regulations on manure land-spreading is better suited to the goal than trying to impose a moratorium on herd expansion. READ MORE
February 13, 2018, Nandua, VA – Virginia is proposing a new permit to require more boots-on-the-ground monitoring for some farms. It includes some quarterly inspections and stormwater discharge sampling. The hundreds of thousands of tons of manure produced each year close to the Chesapeake Bay worries residents of Virginia's Eastern Shore. READ MORE
February 12, 2018, Celina, OH – The state has issued a Grand Lake Watershed farmer a violation and $500 civil penalty for violating the distressed watershed rules, Mercer County Soil and Water Conservation District board members learned. This is the first time the Ohio Department of Agriculture has imposed a fine for a distressed watershed rule violation. The state received the authority to issue civil penalties only last year. READ MORE
February 12, 2018, Greenwich, N¥ – As winter manure spreading regulations have tightened over the years, dairy farmers must consider ways to expand manure storage, especially those whose herds are growing. About 90 people turned out recently for “Managing Dairy Manure Systems: Sharing Experiences of Farmers and Engineers,” a program put on by Washington County Extension. They learned the pros and cons of different practices such as hauling, satellite lagoons, pumps and draglines, and how to implement such systems. READ MORE
February 9, 2018, Washington, DC – The National Pork Producers Council recently asked Congress for a legislative fix to a federal emergency response law that now requires farmers to report emissions from the natural breakdown of manure to the U.S. Coast Guard. Testifying on behalf of NPPC, Dr. Howard Hill told members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works that livestock producers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency never believed routine agricultural emissions from manure constituted the type of emergency or crisis the law was intended to address. Last April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected a 2008 EPA rule that exempted farmers from reporting routine farm emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). CERCLA is mainly used to clean hazardous waste, and it and EPCRA include provisions that require entities to report on the release of various substances over certain thresholds. The appeals court ruling will force “tens of thousands of livestock farmers to figure out how to estimate and report their emissions,” testified Hill, a veterinarian and pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa, and past president of NPPC. (More than 100,000 livestock farmers likely will need to file emissions reports by a May 1 deadline.) He pointed out that while the pork industry is prepared to comply with CERCLA and EPCRA, EPA, the U.S. Coast Guard – which takes the emissions reports – and state and local emergency response authorities have said they don’t want or need the information, which could interfere with their legitimate emergency functions. Hill also told the committee that pork producers are committed to responsibly managing their animals and the manure they produce to protect water and air quality and to maximizing manure’s benefit and value as a source of nutrients for the crops they grow. He said the pork industry, which has worked cooperatively with environmental regulators at the state and federal levels, supports federal environmental policies that: give producers performance expectations that have a high probability of resulting in meaningful environmental improvements; are practical and affordable; and provide producers a realistic amount of time to adapt measures and associated systems to their operations so they can continue to be profitable and successful.
February 7, 2018, Lancaster, PA – Pennsylvania’s largest farms may soon be operating under new regulations that will streamline some requirements while mandating additional safeguards against water pollution. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has proposed the new regulations for so-called concentrated animal feeding operations, defined as farms with more than 300 animals. READ MORE
February 7, 2018, Pierre, SD – County commissions should have authority over whether livestock and dairy producers can run pipelines of animal manure through neighbors’ road ditches, and then pump the waste onto fields as fertilizer, a South Dakota lawmaker testified recently. Rep. Jason Kettwig, R-Milbank, said HB 1184 would expand South Dakota utilities laws to allow waste disposal pipelines along roadways. The House Transportation Committee agreed, voting 8-5 to recommend its passage. READ MORE
February 5, 2018, Montpelier, VT – Gov. Phil Scott sketched out a plan at a recent dairy conference that could include making money from the pollutant plaguing Vermont’s waterways – phosphorus. The proposal to “crowdsource” ideas to remove phosphorus from cow manure included no specific reduction goals and could take a minimum of 18 to 24 months to implement. READ MORE
February 2, 2018, Milwaukee, WI – On February 1, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit extended a stay of air emissions reporting from livestock wastes through at least May 1, 2018. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had asked for an additional stay of 90 days to provide the agency additional time to prepare for any reporting obligations. In its motion for stay, the EPA cited a need for more time to refine guidance to industry on meeting the reporting obligations and to finalize agriculture-specific forms that would be used to report emissions from animal wastes to the EPA. Livestock industry groups supported the EPA’s request, while environmentalist and animal rights groups, who have previously pushed the court to apply these reporting obligations to farms, took no position on this latest request for stay. Meanwhile, industry groups are working on legislative solutions that would address the regulatory burden of reporting emissions of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide that occur on farms due to the natural breakdown of manure. In April 2017, the D.C. Circuit ruled that farms were required to report air releases of “hazardous substances” above certain thresholds under two federal environmental laws, despite the fact that Congress likely never intended those two laws to apply to farms. The EPA released guidance on those reporting obligations in November 2017. The court’s mandate, or order enforcing its ruling, has been stayed periodically since its decision last spring.
January 29, 2018, Montpelier, VT – Vermont has a problem. The state is $1.2 billion short of the funding it will need to meet federal targets for reducing pollution in state waterways. To solve that problem, Gov. Phil Scott recently suggested a creative solution in his budget address – turning the pollutant into a commodity and selling it out of state. The pollutant is phosphorus, a primary ingredient of fertilizer, which is widely used in farming. READ MORE
January 26, 2018, Des Moines, IA – Coming March 2018, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will have an option for livestock and poultry farmers to submit their annual Manure Management Plan (MMP) updates and pay compliance fees online. The electronic (eMMP) option provides a simplified process for producers, their consultants, counties and the DNR. Producers can submit annual short forms and pay fees from home, the office or their smart phone. Or, they can assign rights to their consultant to file the forms. The streamlined process will cut out driving to county offices for signatures. Instead, the DNR will notify counties once the submission is complete. Producers can find out more about the process by going to DNR’s eMMP webpage and pre-registering for a Feb. 28 live webinar.
January 25, 2018, Madison, WI – The state Department of Natural Resources Board has approved new restrictions on manure spreading in 15 eastern Wisconsin counties. The DNR developed the rules largely in response to widespread groundwater contamination in Kewaunee County. Manure runoff has harmed drinking and surface water in parts of the county and other communities. The regulations limit how much manure farms in the counties can spread. The limits vary according to the depth of each farm's topsoil. Farms with less than two feet of topsoil would be prohibited from spreading any manure. The restrictions also carve out zones around wells where farmers can't spread manure. READ MORE
January 24, 2018, Madison, WI – Factory farms in eastern Wisconsin would have to limit manure spreading under new restrictions the state Department of Natural Resources board is poised to adopt in an attempt to protect groundwater from contamination. The DNR has been working on the regulations for two years, largely in response to widespread drinking water contamination in Kewaunee County. The initial version called for statewide manure restrictions, but the dairy industry balked at the potential costs after Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s office shared the plan with farm groups. READ MORE
February 9, 2018, Yuma, CO – An anaerobic digester plant that would covert animal waste into a usable energy source, among other things, is being planned for south of Yuma. Sheldon Kye Energy and Harvest Operating LLC are teaming up to develop the digester. Both companies are headquartered in the metro Denver area. Brian Johnson is heading up the project for Sheldon Kye Energy, and Alan Nackerud is the Harvest Operating representative. READ MORE
February 8, 2018, Sacramento, CA – Renewable Dairy Fuels (RDF), a business unit of Amp Americas, recently announced that construction is underway on the country’s largest on-farm anaerobic digester-to- vehicle fuel operation. Located in Fair Oaks, Indiana, the dairy project will be the company’s second biogas facility producing renewable natural gas from dairy waste for transportation fuel. Amp Americas received the first dairy waste-to-vehicle fuel pathway certified by California's Air Resources Board (CARB) for its first RNG project at Fair Oaks Farms in northwest Indiana. The project was also awarded a Carbon Intensity (CI) score of -254.94 gCO2e/MJ, the lowest ever issued by CARB. In addition to generating renewable American energy, on-farm anaerobic digester operations improve sustainability, environmental stewardship and energy independence. The new facility will be 50 percent larger than RDF’s operation at Fair Oaks Farms and will be operational this summer. The site is located in Jasper County, IN, just a few miles from Fair Oaks Farms. Every day, three digesters located at three dairy farms will convert 950 tons of dairy waste from 16,000 head of milking cows into 100 percent renewable transportation fuel. The RNG will then be injected into the NIPSCO pipeline. Each of the digesters is a DVO, Inc. designed and built Mixed Plug Flow digester. “Transportation is now the largest source of greenhouse gases in the U.S., and a major source of smog-causing pollution,” said Grant Zimmerman, CEO at Amp Americas. “It is more important than ever to drive further adoption of clean and efficient domestic RNG within the trucking industry. There isn’t enough RNG being produced to meet customer demand. Our new project will help make strong headway toward closing the supply gap.” Amp Americas continues to expand its national footprint and to invest heavily in dairy RNG projects by partnering with dairy farmers across the country to bring more ultra-low CI gas to market. The company plans to more than double its dairy gas output by mid-2018, and aims to deliver Amp Renew, its 100 percent RNG product, to all 20 of its fueling stations as it brings on future projects.
January 23, 2018, Portland, OR – Climate Trust Capital, a U.S.-based private investment fund, has closed on a carbon investment in the biogas sector –the Carlos Echeverria and Sons Dairy (CE&S) biogas project. Approximately $1.12 million of Climate Trust Capital’s Fund I was invested in a covered lagoon digester that will destroy methane and produce carbon offsets under California’s cap and trade system. The investment is based on the anticipated 10-year value of carbon credits from a livestock digester project located at the Carlos Echeverria and Sons Dairy, a large farm in California’s Central Valley. Project partner, California Bioenergy LLC (CalBio), has built three other dairy digester projects, including California’s largest, with three additional projects currently coming on line and many more scheduled for development. This project investment is expected to begin generating carbon offsets in January 2018 with initial cash flow from the sale of these offsets in 2019. “Generating revenue from the sale of offsets through California’s cap and trade program is a complex process requiring a great deal of regulatory oversight to ensure the credits are real, additional, and permanent,” said Andrew Craig, director of greenhouse gas reduction initiatives for California Bioenergy. “We’re thankful to have partnered with some of the leading experts in the dairy digester industry, including The Climate Trust, who has been an invaluable asset to us and our dairy farmer partners.” “The need for capital when building a livestock digester project is in strong alignment with Climate Trust Capital’s investment thesis of providing an early-stage investment to catalyze projects,” said Kristen Kleiman, director of investments for The Climate Trust. “Digesters improve the economic and environmental performance of dairies, provide clean energy, improve soil nutrient management, improve local air quality, and so much more. Quality digester projects will make up a sizeable portion of our investment portfolio, enabling the trust to keep an eye toward ensuring the best possible premiums from the sale of generated credits.” The CE&S digester will treat the manure by covering manure lagoons with a flexible, high-density polyethylene cover. Captured methane will be stored and then combusted in a high-efficiency generator that delivers renewable electricity to Pacific Gas and Electric. In addition, the digester will be double lined and enhance ground-water protection. Effluent from the digester will be used to irrigate fields.
January 10, 2017 – In a paper by Texas A&M scientists, biochar shows potential for increasing efficiency of the anaerobic digestion of animal manure. In the study, digesters that are enhanced with the biochar saw a methane production increase of about 40 percent, with a reduction in production time of 50 to 70 percent. READ MORE
December 20, 2017, San Francisco, CA – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently established a new program to reduce emissions of methane, a potent short-lived climate pollutant, from manure generated at dairies. The pilot program will incentivize at least five projects where dairy digesters capture and process the biomethane gas from manure to produce renewable natural gas. The program was adopted pursuant to Senate Bill (SB) 1383 (Lara, 2016) which authorizes funding of the dairy biomethane pilot projects to demonstrate interconnection to the gas pipeline system. The pipeline infrastructure is needed to inject renewable natural gas (after a conditioning process) into the utilities’ natural gas distribution system, where it may be sold to customers. SB 1383 established a goal of 40 percent reduction of methane emissions statewide by 2030. Emissions from manure represent approximately 26 percent of California’s methane emissions. “This program helps turn a waste product into renewable energy,” said Commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen. “In addition to reducing emissions of methane, the pilot projects will help improve air and water quality in the Central Valley and other regions. Strong interagency coordination has allowed us to implement this in a very short timeframe.” Under the proposal, an interagency committee that includes the CPUC, the California Air Resources Board, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture will select the pilot projects. The committee will choose projects based on an evaluation of the proposed business model, likely greenhouse gas reductions realized and cost effectiveness of achieving these reductions, environmental benefits, disadvantaged community benefits, and project readiness.
December 18, 2017, Sacramento, CA – The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is now accepting applications for the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program (DDRDP). The program, which is funded through California Climate Investment dollars, provides financial assistance for the installation of dairy digesters in California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “Reducing methane emissions is a critical component in the state’s efforts to combat climate change,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “Digester technology is an excellent example of how state and private partnerships can protect the environment, reduce emissions all while also providing an economic benefit for our dairy producers.” CDFA will allocate between $61 and $75 million for potential projects. The final sum will depend on the needs of successful grant applicants. Additional funds have been allocated to support non-digester practices that reduce methane emissions from dairy and livestock operations through the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP). Milk producers and dairy digester developers can apply for up to $3 million for projects that provide quantifiable greenhouse gas reductions. Prospective applicants can access the “Request for Grant Applications” at www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/DD for information on eligibility and program requirements. To streamline the application process, CDFA is partnering with the State Water Resources Control Board, which hosts the 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 Friday, January 26, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. PST. CDFA will hold two free workshops and one webinar to provide information on program requirements and the FAAST application process. CDFA staff will be present at the workshop to provide guidance on the application process, provide application examples and answer any questions. Individuals planning to attend should email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with their contact information, number of seats required and the workshop location. Workshop locations include: Modesto – Wednesday, January 3, 20181:00 – 3:00 pmStanislaus County Agricultural Commissioner Office, Room HI, 3800 Cornucopia WayModesto, CA 95358 Tulare – Thursday, January 4, 20181:00 – 3:00 pmTulare County Agricultural Commissioner Office Conference RoomAgricultural Building4437 S Laspina StreetTulare, CA 93274 Webinar – Monday, January 8, 201810:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.To register for the webinar, please visit the program webpage at www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/DD. Prospective applicants should refer to the DDRDP webpage (www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/DD) for information on community outreach assistance coordinated by CDFA. For general program questions, contact CDFA’s Grants Office at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
December 12, 2017, Benson, MN – State regulators said they are investigating the death of a worker who fell to his death at a soon-to-be-closed biomass plant in central Minnesota that supplies power to Xcel Energy. The man fell into a hopper at the Benson Power plant, formerly known as Fibrominn, in Benson on Dec. 6, according to Minnesota's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). READ MORE
December 11, 2017, Deerfield, MA – A $5 million methane digester-power generator that went online last March is finally showing signs of being fully connected at Bar-Way Farm, nine months after the 1-megawatt generator was supposed to have been churning out electricity for the power grid. Eversource crews were at work at the dairy farm, where farmer Peter Melnick had complained in September that the utility had failed to meet several promised dates for hooking up the methane-burning generator to the electric grid. READ MORE
December 1, 2017, Los Angeles, CA – Toyota plans to build a power plant in California that captures methane gas from dairy cattle manure to generate water, electricity and hydrogen. The company announced the project Nov. 30 at the Los Angeles auto show. The Tri-Gen Project at the Port of Long Beach, Calif., will be the world’s first commercial-scale 100 percent renewable power and hydrogen generation plant. Toyota is betting heavily on fuel-cell technology, especially in Japan. READ MORE
November 21, 2017, Middlebury, VT – A Salisbury farm will soon be turning on-site cow manure and Addison County food waste into renewable energy that will push Middlebury College’s campus beyond its goal of carbon neutrality. The Goodrich Farm will host a Farm Powered-brand anaerobic digester that will, on a daily basis, process 100 tons of manure from the 900-cow farm and 165 tons of organic food waste per day. READ MORE
Oil and gas wells and even cattle release methane gas into the atmosphere, and researchers are working on ways to not only capture this gas but also convert it into something useful and less polluting.
November 13, 2017, Madison, WI – Dane County plans to stop making electricity with natural gas extracted from heaps of garbage and manure so that it can sell the gas through an interstate pipeline for use as environmentally-friendly automobile fuel. The $23.5 million project at the county landfill would be the first of its kind in the state. READ MORE
February 15, 2018, Washington, DC – Legislation strongly supported by the National Pork Producers Council, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Turkey Federation, National Chicken Council, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, and United Egg Producers was introduced Feb. 13 to exempt farmers from reporting to the U.S. Coast Guard emissions from the natural breakdown of manure on their farms. Led by Sens. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Ranking Member Tom Carper, D-Del., the bipartisan “Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act” would fix a problem created last April when a U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a 2008 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule that exempted farmers from reporting routine farm emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). READ MORE
February 15, 2018, Lansing, MI – Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan Agribusiness Association are hosting a meeting March 1 at Michigan Farm Bureau in Lansing to introduce a manure hauler certification program. Anyone who applies manure is urged to attend. The purposes for the meeting are to present the draft version of the proposed manure hauler certification program, receive comments on the material that has been developed in support of the certification program and increase hauler knowledge of manure application. The goals of the certification program are to: Prevent manure application problems before they occur. Increase nutrient management plan implementation. Demonstrate responsible manure application. Increase the base level of manure management knowledge of all applicators. The certification program consists of three tiers. Individuals who are certified at tier one have a basic knowledge of manure spill response and proper manure application techniques. Individuals achieve this level by passing a test. Once certification has been awarded, individuals will be required to take two hours of training and testing annually to retain tier one certification. Tier two certification is for anyone who supervises manure application. This level focuses on more advanced training and may include topics like odor management, using GPS in manure application, ethics and regulations. Maintaining tier two certification requires participating in a minimum of four modules over two years and showing proficiency through testing. Tier three is achieved by developing and implementing an environmental management system (EMS) plan. An EMS plan is designed to improve the day-to-day management of farm and for-hire applicator business practices with an emphasis on environmental stewardship. One of the benefits of a certification program includes a reduction in pollution insurance premiums. Since 2003, the Professional Nutrient Applicators Association of Wisconsin (PNAAW) has partnered with the insurance industry to provide discounts for manure applicators that participate in their voluntary certification program. Due to court decisions in 2015 that decreed bacteria was a pollutant, PNAAW spent a year revamping the insurance portion of their certification program. PNAAW initially looked at a group policy, but then opted to go with individual policies in grouped pools based on the program. The new program has a strengthened auditing component by the insurance industry and provides full environmental coverage for $10 million aggregate. The new discounts average 38 percent on all insurance, except workman’s comp, for for-hire applicators. In its first year, the new program saved applicators more than $300,000. Dave Anderson with Vincent Urban Walker and Associates (Green Bay, WI) was a primary architect in designing the revamped insurance component of the certification program. He will provide more details on the insurance premium reductions offered to certified manure haulers and the third party verification process conducted by the insurance industry during the meeting. While the morning will be spent learning about the manure hauler certification program, the afternoon will be spent learning about the impact of the Lake Erie watershed on Michigan agriculture, getting a regulatory update from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and learning about manure handling and storage safety. There is no registration fee to attend the winter manure hauler meeting due to the generous financial support from Bazooka Farmstar and Bambauer Equipment. However, registration is required to ensure an accurate handout and lunch count. To register and get more details on the meeting, go to https://tinyurl.com/ManureHaulMtg. The registration deadline is February 26. If you have questions about the program, contact Charles Gould at 616-994-4547 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
January 17, 2018, Des Moines, IA – Iowa lawmakers should halt construction on animal confinements until Iowa's water quality is significantly improved, a coalition of about two dozen state, local and national groups said Tuesday. The Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture asked lawmakers to support 15 bills tightening oversight of confinements introduced by Sen. David Johnson, an independent from Ocheyeden. READ MORE
December 14, 2017, Winnipeg, Man – Effective March 2018, the Manitoba Livestock Manure Management Initiative (MLMMI) will disband and its activities will be rolled into a more broadly mandated provincial research organization created under the new federal-provincial Canadian Agricultural Partnership. John Carney, executive director of the MLMMI, said work over the past almost 20 years has included odor mitigation, odor measurement and quantification, nutrient management including manure separation and manure nutrients in crops, the feasibility of a manure pipeline to transport manure, pathogens in manure and barn worker health and safety. “Certainly, there's been quite a bit of work done in odor management,” he said. “We have a model that is very helpful for predicting odor plumes and there's actually some refinements going on with that as we speak.” “We fully investigated five different technologies for manure separation as part of redistributing nutrients from areas that don't have enough spreadable acres.We looked at alternatives and costs of manure transportation.” “I think it's important to note too that we don't just consider our success when we find something that works,” Carney added. “When we find that it's not the answer, I think that's just as valuable as when you find something that is what you hoped it would be.” “Our research has the capabilities of saving a lot of producers the time, money and frustration of implementing technologies or strategies that it turns out don't work in Manitoba conditions.” According to Carney, under the new program, this research will be broadened to cover all forms agriculture. He said there continues to be opportunities for Manitoba to produce more livestock so manure research will continue to be an important focus.
November 29, 2017, Tampa, FL – MagneGas Corporation, a clean technology company in the renewable resources and environmental solutions industries, recently announced it has formally launched a U.S. Department of Agriculture sterilization pilot program at a dairy farm based in Bowling Green, FL. The primary purpose of the pilot is to evaluate the efficacy of the MagneGas patented plasma arc sterilization process for cow manure. The pilot is jointly funded by the USDA through a $432,000 USDA grant and provides MagneGas Corporation a unique opportunity to further validate the sterilization process. MagneGas previously conducted similar pilot programs for the hog industry in Indiana in 2016. The data gathered from that program was submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency and USDA for review. The current grant was a direct result of the prior pilot study. The company believes that with the additional data gathered as a result of the current pilot in Florida, it will be in a position to move ahead with the broader commercialization of its sterilization process within the agricultural industry. "Our USDA pilot program is a major milestone in the progression of our sterilization business and the culmination of many years of hard work and engineering," said Ermanno Santilli, CEO of MagneGas Corporation. "Sterilization has been a core focus for the MagneGas technology since our formation. The USDA pilot further validates the progress we are making, and we believe it will serve as a key catalyst for market acceptance in the agricultural industry and a major financial opportunity for MagneGas. We are working diligently towards completing the setup of this USDA pilot for the dairy industry and, at the same time, are working towards establishing a commercialized pilot in North Carolina to service the hog industry. We also remain on track to launch our commercial program for the sterilization of leachates in landfills with our Italian partners in early 2018." "We are very pleased to take these next steps with the USDA and our sterilization business," said Scott Mahoney, CFO of MagneGas. "As we head into 2018, we are focused on accelerating the launch of our sterilization technology as well as other emerging applications we are developing. The key financial metric we have imposed in the commercialization process has been to proactively seek out non-dilutive capital solutions that enable these programs to move forward efficiently. The USDA pilot is an excellent example of these efforts. We will have 50 percent of all pilot costs offset through the USDA grant awarded in June of 2017. We will continue to seek similar grants, joint venture programs and other structures that will enable MagneGas to advance our technologies in the near term."
October 20, 2017, Green Bay, WI – The Dairy Business Association (DBA) has reached a settlement in its lawsuit against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for legal overreach on regulations. The settlement, reached Oct. 18 between the association and DNR, will bring immediate relief for dairy farmers facing uncertainty and costly changes, and will provide assurance that the DNR will create future rules only according to the law. “More than anything, this is a victory for the rule of law,” said Mike North, president of the DBA. “The DNR or other state agencies can’t make up the rules as they go along. There is a process that must be followed, and that process promotes public participation, legislative oversight and transparency. That is good for everyone.” The dairy group prevailed on the central claims of the suit — that the DNR illegally changed rules for how farmers manage rainwater that comes into contact with feed storage and calf hutch areas. More broadly, the settlement reaffirms the significance of Act 21, a 2011 state law that requires agencies to follow a specific method of rulemaking. In reaching the deal, the DNR admitted that it overreached its legal authority, vowed to follow the proper rulemaking process and agreed to rescind the blanket change in standards for vegetative treatment areas (VTAs) and calf hutches. Instead, the agency will order changes on a case-by-case basis if a farm’s conditions warrant. “Farmers’ investments will be protected by this victory,” North said. “Current practices will continue where they are working. A farm-specific approach will save farmers time and money. And we will have better and longer-lasting environmental outcomes.” All environmental safeguards for water quality remain in place, North said, noting that existing standards found in state and federal law are not changed by this settlement. “This lawsuit was never about rolling back regulations. It was about creating regulations according to a legally prescribed process,” North said. The suit, filed July 31, was a first for the DBA and came only after years of rebuffed efforts to work with the DNR on its approach, North said. The VTA and calf hutch issues were the last straws. For its part, the DBA agreed to drop a third claim related to a large farm’s duty to apply for a permit. The association had argued in the lawsuit that the DNR was contradicting a state law by exceeding federal standards that require a specific type of permit only if the farm discharges nutrients to a navigable surface water. North said the dairy group expected that its duty-to-apply claim would result in a harmonization of state and federal laws while still providing for environmental oversight of farms. But, he said, the association realized this claim would be the most challenging to prevail on in court even though there was sound basis. “We are pleased we could help secure a more certain future for Wisconsin dairy farmers and send a strong message that state agencies must follow the rule of law when creating regulations,” North said.
October 19, 2017, The Netherlands – In 2016, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported that China consumes around 28 percent of the world’s meat. A lot of this meat is nationally produced, so a huge amount of livestock is needed. News outlets report that China raises around nine billion chickens for meat consumption. But besides space, feed and resources, another serious problem is manure management. Developing and implementing safe, cost-effective and sustainable ways is necessary and the Netherlands can play an important role. Within the Chinese government, there is an urgency to accelerate the transition to a circular, bio-based agriculture. The modernization of agriculture is a prominent topic in the 13th five-year plan and billions of euros will be invested in bio based and organic waste recycling over the next few years. Manure utilization is often not optimal in China, which has negative effects on the environment. At the same time, this also offers opportunities for foreign parties to enter the market. Therefore, a Dutch mission visited China in early October to gain a better understanding of the latest developments and to explore opportunities for long-term cooperation. “China has a large demand for agri-food technology and know-how,” said Epi Postma, director of B&E BV and one of the participants. “So there is a lot of supply and demand. Agri-food is a top-priority for the Chinese government. The Netherlands has much to offer and the Chinese know it. However, active involvement of the Dutch Embassy and Wageningen University for Sino-Dutch cooperation is imperative for opening doors.” Wageningen University (WUR) has close ties with several Chinese agricultural institutes such as the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) and the China Agricultural University (CAU). Last year, WUR and CAAS together established the Sino-Dutch Livestock Waste Recycling Center. “We want to set up projects which link research institutes and the business community,” said Roland Melse, senior environmental technology researcher who also accompanied the mission. “Another good example of such a cooperation is the Sino-Dutch Dairy Development Center where WUR, FrieslandCampina, Rabobank and other companies are participating on the Dutch side.” In the Netherlands, solving the manure problem is a process that is already in the spotlight for many years. Further reducing emissions and raising resource efficiency are important challenges as well, now that the Netherlands has the ambition to become a full circular economy by 2050. Furthermore, the sector needs to adapt to changing natural conditions caused by a changing climate. Thus, getting insight on the available knowledge and the innovation ecosystem in China can also provide solutions for the Dutch situation. Of course, this is not applicable one-on-one. “Operating on such a large scale as China’s needs long-term investments in time and capital,” said Melse. “So that is quite a challenge for smaller companies.” On the other hand, the technology and tools that the Netherlands can offer are very interesting for China. Eijkelkamp Soil & Water Export, for example, “provide solutions that make sustainable soil and water management easier,” said Winnie Huang, export manager. “Looking at manure nutrient management, our technology has environmentally friendly solutions for the whole value chain. The Netherlands [is a] pioneer with this technology.” But it is not all about technology. “Rules and regulations are another important factor in further developing this industry,” said Melse. “When there are stricter laws, companies will have to follow them. For example, recently we organized a seminar with 20 Chinese CEOs from large meat producing companies and you could see that Chinese companies are preparing themselves for the future. They are interested to see which future possibilities there might be for cooperation or which products and technologies are available on the market. So the Chinese government also plays a role in strengthening Sino-Dutch cooperation.” “We hope to have government support for developing or demonstrating the Dutch expertise in manure management,” said Huang. “Our sensors and data enhance nutrient management, thus making manure a useful resource for the entire value chain. Learning the Dutch approach and adapting to Chinese practice will deliver mutual benefits to both countries in this sector.”
October 11, 2017, Madison, WI – Ten winners were honored from 30 finalists and more than 230 nominees during the 2017 Wisconsin Innovation Awards, held recently at the Wisconsin Union Terrace. The agriculture winner was Midwestern BioAg and its TerraNu Nutrient Technology, a manufacturing process that gives crop producers access to manure-sourced nutrients from livestock farms. The ceremony recognized the state’s most innovative products and services from nine industry categories. The 2017 winners were selected from a panel of 23 experts from around Wisconsin, and span all business sectors – technology, food, healthcare, agriculture, nonprofits, education, government, and the like – throughout the state. “The Wisconsin Innovation Awards seek to celebrate and inspire innovation, and highlight the creative spirit from the state’s leading public, private and nonprofit sectors,” said Matt Younkle, co-founder of the awards and CEO of Cardigan, LLC. “We want to congratulate all finalists and winners from the 2017 Wisconsin Innovation Awards, and look forward to encouraging an even greater environment of innovation in the year to come.”
October 10, 2017, Abbotsford, BC – Trident Processes recently received the Canadian Business Excellence Award for Private Businesses for 2018. The award is given annually to 25 private businesses across Canada. Trident, headquartered in B.C., has commercialized a unique process for recovering and repurposing valuable resources from livestock manure and municipal wastewater. Its technologies recover nutrients and other resources, a growing focus of agricultural, municipal and industrial wastewater industries. "I continue to be amazed at the level of recognition our company has been able to achieve the past couple of years," said Kerry Doyle, CEO of Trident Processes. "Who would have thought a small company that processes dairy manure and municipal wastewater would be receiving an award alongside big consulting firms, bankers and IT professionals?" "It highlights the importance of the work we are doing," he added. The award is presented by Excellence Canada and PwC Canada as special recognition of Canadian businesses that demonstrate exemplary performance of strategic plans and exceptional achievement of their business goals. Applicant companies are evaluated by an independent adjudication committee from organizations that include BC Business Magazine, CEO Global Network, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Carleton University, CPA Canada, MaRS, PwC Canada, and Excellence Canada.
September 26, 2017, Tucker, GA – The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) is now accepting nominations for the 2018 Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award. The award recognizes exemplary environmental stewardship by family farmers engaged in poultry and egg production. Those eligible for the award include any family-owned poultry grower or egg producer supplying product to a USPOULTRY member or an independent producer who is a USPOULTRY member. Nominations are due Oct. 16. This year, the award was presented to exemplary family farmers in five regions of the country: Northeast, Southeast, South Central, North Central and Southwest. Nominations for the 2018 competition must be made by a USPOULTRY member or an affiliated state poultry association by completing the application provided by USPOULTRY. Each integrator or egg processor may nominate one grower or producer for each processing facility in each state supporting their operations. Five families received the Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award in 2017. The winners were: Daniel Lausecker, Nature Pure, Raymond, Ohio, nominated by the Ohio Poultry Association; Tom and Kim Nixon, Glenmary Farm, Rapidan, Va., nominated by Cargill; Tammy Plumlee, Lazy J Farm, Fayetteville, Ark., nominated by Cargill; Collins Bullard, Bullard Farms, Stedman, N.C., nominated by Prestage Farms; and Gary Fuchs, Ideal Poultry Breeding Farm, Cameron, Texas, nominated by the Texas Poultry Federation. Three finalists were also recognized in 2017. They were Dennis and Yvonne Weis, Den-Yon Turkey Farm, Webster City, Iowa, nominated by West Liberty Foods; Greg and Carla Grubbs, Natural Springs, Clinton, Ky., nominated by Tyson Foods; and William and Lana Dicus, 4 T Turkey Farm, California, Mo., nominated by Cargill. "Best management practices are used by poultry growers to enhance environmental stewardship on their farms,” said Jerry Moye, retired president, of Cobb-Vantress, Siloam Springs, Ark., and USPOULTRY chairman. “The dedication and inventiveness that our award winners and finalists display each year through their environmental management practices is commendable.” All semi-finalists will receive a trip that covers travel expenses and hotel accommodations for two nights to attend a special awards ceremony that will take place during the 2018 International Poultry Expo, part of the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Ga. Each semi-finalist will also receive a Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award sign to display near the entrance of their farm. The overall winner of each region will be named at the Animal Agriculture Sustainability Summit, held in conjunction with IPPE, on Jan. 30, 2018. Each regional winner will also receive a $1,000 cash award. In addition, the farm for each regional winner will be spotlighted on USPOULTRY’s website, and the association will provide assistance in publicizing the farm’s award in local, regional and national media. Competition details are available on the USPOULTRY website at www.uspoultry.org/environment.
August 18, 2017, Indiana - Fair Oaks Farms co-founder Sue McCloskey now has a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for general awesomeness.McCloskey, who launched the hugely popular agritourism farm on the border of Jasper and Newton counties, was one of 15 women to receive an Awesome Women Award in the August edition of Good Housekeeping, which hits newsstands Tuesday. She was lauded for her work in turning manure into clean fuel that powers vehicles at the farm, as well as 42 delivery trucks of Fairs Oaks cheese and dairy products. READ MORE 
August 17, 2017, Chevy Chase, MD - If there is one point on which most Americans agree, it is that technology will play an increasingly important role in the way we live and work. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that in just three years there will be 1.4 million computer science-related jobs, and only 400,000 qualified job candidates.In response, 4‑H, America's largest youth development organization, and Google are coming together for a first-of-its-kind computer science (CS) collaboration that will teach kids both technical skills like coding, and essential skills students will need in the future like, teamwork and resilience. But the program isn't just about programming computers, it's about helping students learn skills they'll need to approach problems in a fundamentally different way across every discipline from business to engineering to the arts.The collaboration is funded by a $1.5 million grant from Google.org to establish a CS program that will empower more than 100,000 young people across 22 states in its first year. The collaboration will include an effort to reach communities where youth traditionally have limited access to computers, internet or CS training. With Google's support, 4‑H will equip community educators with new funding, curriculum, training, devices and the support of Google CS experts. As with most 4‑H programs, the effort will feature teen-led, peer-to-peer mentoring.4‑H and Google publicly announced the collaboration today at a press conference at the Illinois State Fair, where they also debuted a new 4‑H-themed virtual reality Expedition showcasing 4‑H youth using technology to improve their communities."It is incredibly exciting to combine the power of 4‑H with the impact of Google's philanthropy, products and people," said Jennifer Sirangelo, President and CEO of National 4‑H Council. "Working together, our two organizations will make a tremendous difference in the lives of young people by making computer science education accessible and engaging. No matter where kids live or what they aspire to be, these are skills that will help them succeed."The collaboration between 4‑H and Google lays the groundwork for 4‑H to deliver computer science education across the organization, which reaches nearly six million kids in every county and parish in the United States. It establishes an official 4‑H Computer Science Career Pathway, which helps kids progress from casual interest in CS, to dedicated studies and ultimately career experience. Utah State University Extension's 4‑H program is a key partner in co-creating the 4‑H CS Career Pathway and developing tools for educators to implement the program."We are proud to be a part of this effort to bring hands-on programming to our nation's youth," said Jacquelline Fuller, President of Google.org. "It's important for kids to develop a wide range of skills, like computer science skills, analytical thinking and creative problem solving, and our work with National 4‑H Council will help ensure that kids across the country have access to a better future."In its first year, the program is available in the following states: Alabama, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.Parents and educators seeking more information on how to get involved can reach out to their local 4‑H office at HTTP://4-H.ORG/FIND/.
February 1, 2018, Burlington, VT – What’s a responsible farmer to do? Manure injection is an important soil management practice that reduces the chance of manure runoff. But recent studies by Carol Adair and colleagues at the University of Vermont show manure injection can increase the release of harmful greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases contribute to the warming of our atmosphere. Carbon dioxide gets the most attention because so much is released as we burn fossil fuels. Nitrous oxide (yes, the “laughing gas” the dentist may give you) is also a powerful greenhouse gas. There isn’t nearly as much of it in our atmosphere as carbon dioxide: it makes up only about five percent of the greenhouse gases, compared to 82 percent for carbon dioxide. However, it is a much more potent greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential nearly 300 times greater than carbon dioxide. About 40 percent of all nitrous oxide emissions come from human activities, and agriculture is by far the greatest source. About 90 percent of that contribution comes from soil and nutrient management practices like tilling and fertilizing. This means that changes in these practices have great potential to reduce nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture. But there is also the potential to make them worse. That’s where manure injection comes into the story. Animal manure has been used as a fertilizer for thousands of years. It is an excellent source of nutrients for plants and helps build good soil. Manure slowly releases nitrogen, one of the primary elements that help plants grow. Because of this slow release, it does not have to be applied as often as commercial fertilizer. Traditionally, manure has been spread, or broadcast, onto the fields. However, with changing weather patterns some areas have had heavier rains and more flooding. Many farmers are taking steps to avoid manure runoff that can affect the quality of lakes and streams nearby. One such step is manure injection, a relatively new way of applying manure. It helps keep the manure on the crops and on the fields. Manure injectors insert narrow troughs of liquid manure six to eight inches deep into the soil. “Unfortunately, at that depth conditions are just right for producing nitrous oxide,” said Adair. The soils are often wet and there is little oxygen. This leads microbes in the soil to change the way they convert organic matter into energy. This alternative process changes nitrogen into nitrous oxide as a byproduct. Adair and her colleagues have been studying the potential of tillage and manure application methods to reduce nitrous oxide emissions. They are comparing conventional tilling versus no-till systems, and broadcast versus manure injection. Through several farm and laboratory experiments, they have found the tillage method has little impact on nitrous oxide emissions. However, manure injection significantly increases nitrous oxide emissions compared to the broadcast method. This is especially true soon after injection. Warming soil in the spring and more winter thaw/freeze cycles in winters also seem to increase emissions. And when warmer winters are combined with manure injection, this multiplies the effect, leading to even more nitrous oxide emissions. Adair says ongoing research may show the cause of winter and spring emissions and whether there are steps that can reduce them. Perhaps cover crops grown between main-crop seasons will be able to reduce wintertime nitrous oxide emissions. And perhaps the timing of manure injection is important. “Injecting during dry periods seem to reduce emissions, and it may be that fall injection results in smaller emission pulses, but we don’t have enough evidence of the latter yet,” Adair explains. “Our work continues so we can find better answers for growers, and protect the environment.” Adair presented this research at the October Annual Meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America in Tampa, FL.
There has been some success with using biocovers to reduce the odors and environment-damaging gas emissions from liquid manure lagoons – and a promising new cover material that has the potential to do even more is biochar.
November 27, 2017, London, UK – The global manure spreaders market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of close to seven percent during the period 2017 to 2021, according to a new market research study by Technavio. The report presents a comprehensive outlook of the global manure spreaders market by distribution channel (offline stores and online stores). The report also determines the geographic breakdown of the market in terms of detailed analysis and impact, which includes key geographies. Improving farm mechanization is crucial because it facilitates timely, precise, and scientific farm operations, thereby increasing farm input and labor efficiency. Appropriate farm mechanization is necessary to achieve timeliness in field operations, increase productivity, cut down crop production cost, reduce post-harvest losses, and minimize farm drudgery. This also boosts crop output and farm income. The importance of mechanization for farm productivity is coupled with a rise in government support in terms of convenient policies and farm income. Vendors are coming up with advanced features such as fully automated processes, homogenous distribution of manure, multi-language user interfaces, and many more, which are expected to improve the performance of the machines and earn high profit margins. Such factors will increase the demand and sales of manure spreaders. “The launch of new manure spreaders can increase the use and sales of machinery in the coming years,” said Shikha Kaushik, a lead analyst at Technavio for agricultural equipment research. “The growing demand for advanced features, improved performance, and better capacity in machinery has contributed to the development of new machinery, which augurs well for the growth of the market.” The global manure spreaders market is fragmented with the presence of many medium and large-sized competitors. The market is anticipated to experience a sizable rise in production capacity as competitors embrace advanced technological methods to produce manure spreaders. Many competitors are adopting several strategic activities to increase their visibility and production capacities. The increase in production capacity will allow the competitors to meet the growing demand for manure spreaders. The Technavio report is available for purchase by clicking here.
Jaylor's M1480 commercial manure spreader is engineered to be simple and robust. Cambered commercial-grade highway axles and brakes are standard equipment along with oil bath hubs, making the chassis virtually maintenance-free. Rear Canopy with adjustable door for compost Grade 100 Heavy Duty Floor Chain Hydraulic Slide Axle for on-the-fly tongue weight ratio changes Many Flotation Tire options Digi-Star 8000i variable rate control scale system Guillotine door operated by vertical cylinders
October 30, 2017 – Are you at risk while pumping out your manure storage system? Without throwing out the “here’s your sign” card, the simple answer to the question posed is – yes! Many producers know and understand the risk associated with confined manure handling systems but accidents and deaths still occur because unwarranted risks are taken as manure is being handled and removed from the confined manure handling systems. Ask yourself these questions: Does every employee understand the risks associated with confined manure handling systems? Have they received proper training when dealing with confined manure handling systems? Do you have the appropriate hazard signage posted near the confined manure handling system, warning people of the dangers? Do you have the appropriate safety gear available and have you provided instruction to employees on using the equipment? Do you have employees with limited English speaking skills? Do they fully understand the safety risks and signage provided? Do employees and family members have the ability to communicate location directions in an emergency 911 call? These may seem like simple things, unfortunately they often go overlooked. We assume that everyone should know the risks and know what to do in an emergency. Taking the time to provide proper safety equipment, while simultaneously educating employees and family members about the correct safety protocols around confined manure handling systems helps prevent deaths and accidents. So what is the risk with confined manure handling systems? Understanding that there is risk associated with manure pits and manure lagoons is important. They both produce toxic gases as the manure undergoes anaerobic digestive fermentation. The gases produced and the characteristics of each are below: Methane – is an odorless gas that is flammable or explosive at concentrations of 5 to 15 percent by volume of air. The gas is lighter than air and typically found near the top of the pit and high enough concentrations can cause death by suffocation. Hydrogen sulfide – is an extremely toxic gas with a “rotten egg” smell at low concentrations and which at high concentrations can paralyze the olfactory senses. It is heavier than air and often settles towards the bottom of the manure pit. At low concentrations it can cause dizziness, headache, nausea, and respiratory tract irritation. At high concentrations it can cause unconsciousness, respiratory failure and death within minutes. It is also explosive at various concentrations. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) – is an odorless gas that is heavier than air and often settles near the bottom of the manure pit. At low concentrations it causes labored breathing, drowsiness and headaches. In high concentrations it can displace enough oxygen and cause death via suffocation. Ammonia (NH3) - has sharp odor characteristics that irritate the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Exposure to high concentrations can be fatal. Besides understanding the various types of gases produced in confined manure handling systems, you should also follow these guidelines when working around confined manure handling systems. Manure Pits These are enclosed manure storage structures, which should be equipped with ventilation systems. They are often found in dairies as manure is pumped out to a lagoon or in confined swine operation buildings or certain types of beef finishing operations that utilize a confined building. Follow these safety guidelines around manure pits: Keep all manure pits ventilated and fans working properly. Keep all manure pits covered with appropriately ventilated grating. Post hazard signs near all manure pit entry point locations. Never enter a manure pit unless absolutely necessary and only when proper safeguards are utilized. If entry into the pit is necessary, test the air for toxic gases. Never enter a manure pit unless someone is standing by and maintaining constant contact. The person standing watch should be able to lift an unconscious person wearing a safety harness attached to a lifeline. They should NEVER enter the pit trying to rescue someone and have the ability to communicate necessary information in case of an emergency 911 call. Always wear a safety harness that attached to a mechanical device such as a winch, hoist or pulley. This is your lifeline, so the person on the outside must maintain constant contact with the lifeline. Always wear a positive-pressure, self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). Provide a powered, explosion proof air ventilation system for each manure pit that will help bring in a continuous fresh air supply. NEVER enter a manure pit to attempt a rescue without a safety harness and proper respiratory protection! Manure Lagoons They also produce toxic gases in localized layers, which, especially on hot, humid days with little breeze can cause a health hazard and potential death. Gases are readily released when lagoons are agitated to remove manure to be incorporated as fertilizer into the fields. They often have a thick liquid, floating crust, which can make swimming and buoyancy difficult if you were to slip or fall into the lagoon. Additional safety guidelines for manure lagoons are as follows: Open-air lagoons should be fenced off around the perimeter with locked access gates to keep unauthorized people or unwanted animals from accidentally entering them. Hazard signs posted at entry points warning of toxic gases and drowning dangers. Wear a safety harness attached to a lifeline with someone on the other end that can drag you out if it is necessary to enter the lagoon. Rescue equipment such as flotation devices and lifelines attached to every manure pump. Move slowly around manure lagoons as the ground can be uneven causing a person to trip and fall. Never work alone but all other unnecessary bystanders should stay away from access points or pump-out points. No horseplay allowed in these areas. No smoking or open flames allowed near agitation or pumping areas due to the explosive gases that may be present. If equipment breakdown occurs during agitation or pumping shut it down and remove it from the lagoon area before servicing. Follow the same 911 emergency call guidelines as manure pits, be able to describe the situation, number of victims, location and directions. Safety is not a choice, it is something that we need to practice on a daily basis in agriculture. Enclosed manure hold facilities are one of many areas in livestock operations that have inherent risks. However, by following these recommended safety guidelines and training all involved we can be safer and live to see another day with loved ones and family.
October 20, 2017, Montpelier, VT – The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets recently announced $1 million in funding for the Capital Equipment Assistance Program (CEAP). This financial assistance program is available to support farmers to acquire new or innovative equipment that will aid in the elimination of runoff from agricultural wastes to state waters, improve water quality, reduce odors from manure application, separate phosphorus from manure, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. “Funding investments for equipment that will improve water quality is a vital aspect of our farm assistance programs,” said Anson Tebbetts, secretary of Vermont’s Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. “This program has historically supported many farmers in their transition to no-till or in improving their farming practices with precision agricultural equipment.” “We’re excited to offer a new phosphorus removal technology funding category which will offer financial assistance for the installation of both physical and chemical mechanisms for the separation of phosphorus from manure.” This year, funding is available through CEAP for a range of innovative equipment, such as phosphorus removal technologies, no-till equipment, manure application record keeping units, manure injection equipment, and more. Specific equipment that is eligible for funding as well as the corresponding funding rates and caps is available the agency’s website at agriculture.vermont.gov/ceap. The grant application opened October 18, 2017 and applications are due by 4 p.m., December 1, 2017. Eligible applicants include custom manure applicators, non-profit organizations, and farmers. For the complete CEAP application, program details and additional information, please visit agriculture.vermont.gov/ceap or call the agency at (802) 828-2431 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
October 4, 2017, Madison, WI – Dairy Herd Management recently announced LWR’s First Wave System among the Top 10 Products in the 2017 Dairy Herd Management Innovation Awards. The Dairy Herd Management Innovation Awards recognize the best of the best in new products that will be game changers for dairy producers in the areas of efficiency, functionality and technology. LWR Director of Operations, J.R. Brooks says that the launch of the First Wave System was in direct response to the feedback that they were receiving from the dairy industry. “We are constantly listening to producers and we recognized that to fully service the dairy industry we needed to offer the same quality of manure treatment that you get with the LWR system, in a package that drastically reduces operating costs not only for smaller operations, but to an entire industry that has been battling low milk prices,” he said. “We also recognized that not every farm needs to make clean water, but that most want a different way to manage their manure. The First Wave System offers the same precise nutrient control as the full LWR system, and the beauty is that you can add the Second Wave Module at any time to start making clean water when the time is right.” “This dairy industry is fast-paced and ever evolving, these awards showcase the finest in the industry and the commitment industry partners make to keep the future of the dairy industry strong,” said Cliff Becker, vice president and publishing director of Dairy Herd Management. “We are pleased to recognize these top innovators at World Dairy Expo. “The LWR system was recognized as a Top 10 Product in the 2011 Dairy Herd Management Innovation Awards, and now to have the First Wave System on that list is a true testament to our longstanding commitment to the dairy industry,” adds Brooks. Entries were evaluated by Dairy Herd Management's panel of dairy farmers, agribusiness representatives and university experts, and were judged on their originality within the marketplace, usefulness and value to dairy farmers.
September 25, 2017, Lancaster, PA – Fire and Penn Township municipal crews faced an extensive cleanup operation after a September 22 crash involving a farm vehicle spilled an unknown amount of the manure. Northern Lancaster County Regional Police said a tractor towing the liquid manure spreader – filled with 6,000 gallons of manure at the time – lost control and the rig overturned. READ MORE
It seems that sales of manure macerators are up, as they can be used with different types of injectors and help address the higher flow rate of manure pumps in North America. And new designs have improvements significantly over old ones.
The sun has set on another edition of the North American Manure Expo, which was held in mid-August at the University of Wisconsin’s Arlington Agricultural Research Station near Arlington, Wisc.
September 5, 2017, Manawa, WI - Although manure provides valuable nutrients, especially nitrogen, to high N-requiring crops such as corn, proper application is key to keeping those nutrients in the soil while reducing soil erosion.Methods of applying manure into the ground without significantly disturbing the soil were presented to area farmers at the recent summer field day sponsored by the Waupaca County Forage Council.During the morning presentations, speakers noted that a large portion of nitrogen, about half in typical liquid dairy manure, is in ammonium or urea form and can potentially be lost to the air as ammonia if the manure is not incorporated into the soil promptly.Historically, tillage has been the most common method of incorporation, but tillage and, to a lesser extent, standard injection reduce crop residue cover, leaving the field more susceptible to erosion.A common goal among producers is to find new methods for applying liquid dairy manure to maximize manure N availability while maintaining crop residue cover for erosion control.One of the field-day presenters, Dan Brick, of Brickstead Dairy near Greenleaf in Brown County, has become an active conservation leader, who's committed to finding solutions that maintain environmental quality while improving soil fertility.Through the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQUIP), Brick invested in an additional 2.9-million-gallon concrete manure structure to contain manure and milk house waste through the winter until it can be spread safely as fertilizer in the spring on his 900 acres of crop and hay ground. READ MORE
August 18, 2017, Arlington, WI – The clock is ticking with less than one week before the North American Manure Expo begins.The 2017 edition of the annual show celebrating all things manure–related is being held August 22 and 23, 2017, at the University of Wisconsin's Arlington Agricultural Research Station, located about 20 miles north of Madison near Arlington, WI.Two action-packed days have been planned. On August 22, attendees can choose from one of three tours featuring visits to a local dairy-based anaerobic digester, examples of swine and dairy manure processing, plus composting and low disturbance manure application. The buses are filling up and space is limited. Tour registration costs $20 and is available online at manureexpo.org.Pit agitation demos will also be held that afternoon at the research center followed by a stop by some cover crop plots. The trade show will open at noon and industry sessions – including Puck's Pump School, a gas safety seminar plus a demonstration involving control of pit foaming – will be held starting at 4 p.m.On August 23, the grounds will open at 7:30 a.m. and feature a morning of educational sessions. Twenty-four topics will be presented in four separate tents.Manure safety and manure management tools• Improving safety practices around manure storages• Manure safety• Basics of gas monitoring equipment and procedures• Nutrient management planning for Wisconsin farms: SnapPlus software• Integrating erosion and P assessment with SnapPlus• Wisconsin's runoff risk advisory forecastManure as a fertilizer resource• Manure analysis trends and sample collection techniques• Dairy manure application methods• Secondary and micro-nutrients available in dairy manure• Maximizing nutrient value from manure storages• Microbial response to organic matter additions to soils• Use of nitrification inhibitors with manureManure application techniques and technology• Replacing commercial sidedress nitrogen with liquid manure on emerging corn using drag hose• Manure application uniformity• Replacing commercial sidedress nitrogen with liquid manure on emerging corn using a modified tanker• Nutrient separation or improved hauling logistics• Slurry seeding of cover crops• Evaluating the environmental benefits and economic opportunities of windrowing composted dairy manureManure and environmental protection• How does manure application timing impact P runoff?• Manure during winter: How to manage• Nitrogen dynamics in manured systems• Minimizing manure and nutrient transport to tile systems• Public perceptions• Can cover crops and tillage help reduce erosion and P losses?Speakers include university researchers, manure management specialists, professional engineers, agricultural agency staff, and custom manure haulers. Twelve continuing education units (CEUs) have been approved by the American Society of Agronomy's Certified Crop Advisor Program. Other state- and association-specific continuing education or certification credits are also available. They will are listed on manureexpo.org.Manure application demonstrations, including solid and liquid manure spreaders plus compost turners are also planned during the afternoon of August 23.Registration is free (tours are $20) and available online at manureexpo.org.

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