The Porter Family farm, located in Cabarrus County, N.C., is the definition of diverse. Four generations of Porters raise chickens, hogs, cattle, and run a profitable agritourism business.

April 11, 2017, Charles City, IA — A revised resolution aimed at protecting the health of workers at large animal confinement operations was discussed by the Floyd County Board of Supervisors recently, and its sponsor hopes changes will result in more support this time.

Supervisor Mark Kuhn introduced a resolution at the board meeting the end of February to set worker health safety requirements for applicants seeking to get a state construction permit for a confined animal feeding operation (CAFO). READ MORE

April 11, 2017, Raleigh, NC – North Carolina lawmakers are taking steps to protect the world's largest pork producer from lawsuits accusing its subsidiaries of creating unbearable animal waste odor.

The 2014 lawsuits by about 500 rural neighbors of massive hog farms allege that clouds of flies and intense smells remain a problem nearly a quarter-century since industrial-scale hog farming took off. READ MORE

April 10, 2017, Windsor Heights, IA – Plans to enable farmers and consultants to submit manure management plan updates electronically will lead off the April 18 meeting of the Environmental Protection Commission.

The meeting begins at 10 a.m. at DNR’s Air Quality Bureau, 7900 Hickman Road in Windsor Heights, IA. READ MORE

April 3, 2017, Chicago, IL — Four new measures proposed in the Illinois legislature would tighten the state’s environmental protections on hog confinements and give local citizens more input in the permitting process as well as standing to challenge the massive facilities in court.

The legislation, announced March 28, was proposed in response to an August investigation by the Chicago Tribune. The bills would represent the first significant reforms to the state’s 1996 Livestock Management Facilities Act, which has been criticized for failing to keep up with the dramatic growth of swine confinements. READ MORE


March 31, 2017, Winnipeg, Man – The Manitoba government is proposing changes to the Livestock Manure and Mortalities Management Regulation to reduce redundancy, add clarity and eliminate ineffective regulations.

The Manitoba government has launched a 45-day public consultation on proposed amendments to the Livestock Manure and Mortalities Management Regulation. The proposed amendments to the regulation are intended to align with recent changes to the Environment Act under the province’s red tape reduction initiative. Sustainable Development Minister Cathy Cox says these changes will further reduce redundant or duplicated language, improve the clarity of processes and remove ineffective regulations.

“Just to be clear, we have maintained all of our environmental restrictions on manure management, including a ban on winter spreading that will remain, requiring manure management plans will remain, soil testing and a requirement for construction permits,” said Cox. “We have removed the requirement of an ineffective manure management treatment process based on scientific recommendations and practicability. The changes we are proposing, both in the act and in the regulation, are about maintaining our environmental standards while eliminating unnecessary or redundant stipulations. Having the environmental rules in regulation as opposed to legislation allows us to keep up with innovation more flexibly. It is bad policy to have technological prescriptions in legislation.

“We have held technical briefings for industry stakeholders and NGOs in the past few weeks and are now opening it up to public consultation, which we are actually enhancing from 30 to 45 days.”

Public comments are being accepted until May 12 and can be mailed to the Environmental Approvals Branch of Manitoba Sustainable Development or emailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

March 29, 2017, Charles City, IA – A proposal by Floyd County Supervisor Mark Kuhn to change parts of the county's ordinance on concentrated animal feeding operations was opposed by the county's two other supervisors March 28.

Iowa law limits local control of the operations. Kuhn said his proposal does not regulate livestock operations but offers options for protecting operators. READ MORE

March 23. 2017, Springfield, IL – Pork producers continue to be industry leaders on environmental sustainability issues by using manure as a natural fertilizer to offset the use of commercial fertilizers.

Dr. Ted Funk, agricultural engineering consultant for the Illinois Pork Producers Association, has been charged with developing an Illinois Manure Calculator to help producers efficiently calculate their manure usage.

“The Illinois Manure Calculator is built for the Illinois-specific manure plan rules, enabling a livestock producer to quickly balance manure applications with field crop nutrient needs,” explains Dr. Funk. “The user enters manure storages with the respective manure sample data, information for fields that will receive manure, and the general type of manure application equipment being used.”

The app automates the nutrient management planning worksheet that Illinois livestock producers are already required to understand in their Certified Livestock Manager Training workshops coordinated by University of Illinois Extension.

“Calculating the right manure application rate has always been a time-consuming exercise for producers, because they have to gather data from several places before they can compute the answer,” explains Dr. Richard Gates with University of Illinois Extension. “This mobile app puts everything right at their fingertips. I can see how it could become one of the most-used apps on the smartphone during the manure hauling season.”

The app calculates a manure application rate, based on the choice of nitrogen or phosphorus limits, and the N, P, and K that will be applied to the field. It also allows the user to enter a trial application rate, to see the effect on the nutrient balance. Completed calculations can be emailed directly to the user for entry into the farm’s main manure nutrient management plan.

“Producers are always looking for ways to improve their current manure management and application practices,” says Jennifer Tirey, executive director of the Illinois Pork Producers Association. “This free manure rate calculator will give producers another tool in the tool box for carefully developing their manure management plans while utilizing best management practices.”

The mobile app is available for iPhone and Android users. To download the free app visit the app store and search for “Illinois Manure Calculator.”

The development of the Illinois Manure Rate Calculator was provided by funding from the Illinois Soybean Association check off funds and the Illinois Pork Producers Association.

March 22, 2017, Winnipeg, Man – Despite media reports that the Manitoba government plans to lift its ban on the winter spreading of livestock manure, the ban will remain in effect.

As part of Bill 24 – the Red Tape Reduction and Government Efficiency Act – introduced at the Manitoba Legislature last week, the Manitoba government plans to remove from the Environment references to a ban on winter manure spreading.

However, the ban will remain in effect as part of other provincial government legislation.

Mike Teillet, the manager of sustainable development programs with Manitoba Pork, notes provisions banning winter manure spreading were actually referenced in two pieces of provincial legislation.

“They were in the Environment Act and they were in Livestock Manure and Mortalities Management Regulation,” he said. “The regulation and the act both said that winter spreading of manure, that is application of manure on frozen ground, between November 10 and April 10 of any year was not permitted so really nothing is changing. In essence Bill 24, the Red Tape Reduction Act, is simply taking a redundancy out of the Environment Act.

Manitoba Pork has never requested or asked the government to remove the ban on winter spreading and, when we say winter spreading we're talking about spreading manure on frozen ground. The pork council's position has always been that that has been a reasonable restriction and we've never been opposed to it.”

Teillet says removing references to winter livestock manure spreading from the Environment Act simply eliminates redundancy and the actual effect of the change is nil.

March 20, 2017, Winnipeg, Man – The Manitoba government is introducing proposed legislation that would reduce outdated, contradictory, complicated or ineffective regulatory requirements imposed on businesses, industry and local governments, Finance Minister Cameron Friesen said recently.

Among the regulatory changes being considered is removal of general prohibitions from the province’s Environment Act for the expansion of hog barns and manure storage facilities.

“Our government recognizes the status quo has created unnecessary challenges for both industry and government,” said Friesen. “The proposed changes were identified as priority actions by both industry leaders and the civil service. Once implemented, these changes would improve efficiency and effectiveness, making it easier for all Manitobans to prosper and focus on their priorities.”

The Manitoba government introduced the freeze on new hog barn construction and expansions near Lake Winnipeg starting in 2006, expanding it province-wide in 2011. The province’s ban on winter manure spreading was imposed in 2013. Both pieces of legislation were aimed at reducing phosphorus runoff into waterways.


North Carolina has long been a major pork-producing state, with the industry providing well over 50,000 full-time direct and indirect jobs. However, being the second largest pork-producing state in the U.S. means that North Carolina must contend with mind-bending amounts of swine manure and associated ammonia. The 2.3-plus million pigs housed in more than 2,000 facilities produce so much waste that the state government has mandated the conversion of manure
into energy.

That means biodigesters. But which digester designs might be best to address the situation? Shlomi Palas believes he has found the best technology to handle North Carolina’s serious swine manure problem.

“There have been some biogas plant designs tried by other parties in this state, but we believe we have found the right solution,” says Palas, CEO of Charlotte, NC-based Blue Sphere Corporation.

Blue Sphere has operated for more than two decades and has facilities in several countries, including Italy, the UK, and now Holland and the U.S. The firm oversees entire waste-to-energy facilities, choosing appropriate technologies from well-established contractors and arranging to generate and sell electricity, scrubbed biogas, organic fertilizer, compost and other valuable products.

Electricity production at Blue Sphere’s $20-million, 3.2-MW food waste biogas facility in Johnston, RI, will be connected to the grid in that state by March. Its $27-million, 5.2-MW food waste facility in Charlotte began supplying electricity to Duke Energy in mid-November 2016, with full commissioning and feedstock ramp-up occurring over the next few months.  

After almost two years of researching the most suitable technologies for hog manure, Blue Sphere feels it has succeeded in finding the best, most-efficient systems for its two new digester facilities under development in North Carolina.

Palas says they are confident in the chosen vendors for several important reasons.

“The technology providers have long-proven experience and track records of many installations in swine manure processing, and their technologies are working 100 percent,” he reports. “While American hog manure has a little more liquid than European hog manure, the combination of the U.S. and Europe technologies will have the appropriate adaptations to be successful with us here, and the companies involve have also provided us with financial assurances.”

European hog manure has about two to three percent solids, but due to feeding regime differences, American hog manure contains one to 1.5 percent solids.

Removal of liquid from the hog manure will be done onsite at individual farms using a combination of technologies. Again, Palas says these sorts of separation system are new to North America, but are working well in Europe and have been successfully tailored for U.S. swine manure.

“Transporting liquid is very costly, so the need to pre-treat on site is critical,” he notes. “We bring the manure dry matter up to 20 to 30 percent and then transport it to the digester.”

Once fully operational, the new NC facilities will produce an annual revenue of about $10 million [estimated] from renewable energy. However, while the biogas from both the Charlotte and Rhode Island projects is being used to generate electricity, Palas foresees a significant shift coming and so the hog manure biogas may be used differently.

“There is a change going on in the gas market, from electricity production to production of bio-methane, compressed natural gas and liquefied biogas for vehicles,” he says. “The engines that use this gas are already well-developed and already many Fortune 500 countries use trucks and cars that run on this fuel.”

Blue Sphere is developing other sites in North Carolina and worldwide, and Palas attributes his firm’s success to many factors, chief among them is an ‘agnosticism’ to digester technologies.

“The biggest mistake that other firms have made, and are still making, is that they get stuck with specific systems,” he explains. “We are open to using tech from Italy, Canada, Germany, China, Japan, United States and other parts of the world to find the best fit for the feedstock we have. We focus on the waste first. We actually have a dedicated staff member to find and keep up with technologies from all over the world. But no matter the technology, the systems must be bankable and well-established so that we can obtain funding and build a project successfully. We cannot work with startup technology.”

Having said that, Blue Sphere cannot handle North Carolina’s colossal swine manure problem alone, and the company is strongly encouraging other renewable energy players to participate.

“The process begins with permits, site selection, establishing a market for the gas and so on, and that can take over a year,” Palas explains. “Construction can take another 12 to 18 months. We have every intention of being a primary player, but due to the timelines involved, we cannot do it alone, and we are inviting others to get involved in this serious challenge. Hog manure is a huge market.

“We are starting with these two food waste digester projects and will make sure they are running well,” he adds. “Once we have proved our solution is workable, we’ll know we have a winner and then we can go across the country.”

In January, Blue Sphere also held some meetings in Canada, so stay tuned for developments north of the border as well.



March 8, 2017, Los Angeles, CA – OriginClear Inc., a provider of water treatment solutions, recently announced its entry into the agricultural wastewater treatment market.

Spanish farming equipment manufacturing company, Montajes Longares, is launching a spinoff to commercialize its patented Depuporc pig manure slurry cleanup system, and has licensed OriginClear's Electro Water Separation (EWS) to help clarify and sanitize the slurry for water reuse and fertilizer applications.

There are more than 85,000 farms in Spain breeding more than 26 million pigs at any one time, making the country the largest pig producer in Europe, and third in the world after China and the U.S. EU regulations are tightening around nitrates discharge, creating increasing pressure on animal farmers to treat their effluents.

"For some time, we've been interested in the agricultural waste water treatment market," said Jean-Louis "JL" Kindler, president of OriginClear's technology division. "Our technology is well-suited to extracting organic contaminants and sanitizing agricultural waste water, and pig manure slurry is a great first application in this large and growing market. We're excited to have a partner who is licensing our technology into their patented system to solve agricultural water treatment challenges."

"We expect to use OriginClear's EWS to significantly reduce the need for chemicals such as coagulants and flocculants, while reducing equipment cost and footprint, and operating expense," said Francisco Longares Valero, CEO and co-founder of Depuporc S.L. "We plan to supply agricultural operators and service companies with mobile treatment units having a capacity of seven metric tons of water per hour, or more than 50,000 gallons per day, and fixed onsite plants able to treat as much as 10 million gallons, per year."

As part of its licensing commitment, Depuporc has acquired an OriginClear laboratory-scale unit to help its engineering team design and build a pilot system for immediate deployment at the site of a prospective client. With full support from its parent company, Depuporc has all the necessary resources for design, engineering, manufacturing, as well as commissioning and maintenance.

The Depuporc system is an integrated solution for livestock waste treatment that processes animal waste through various phases of filtering and separation, providing a source of recycled water for farm cleaning and irrigation. Depuporc S.L. plans to have the first pilot in operation before summer 2017.

February 21, 2017, St. Charles, MN – The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) stated that a proposal to expand two rural St. Charles hog farms could risk a repeat of the 2015 fish kill that wiped out most of the trout in the South Branch of the Whitewater River.

Late last month, DNR officials raised numerous concerns about the potential for the hog farm expansions to cause ground and surface water pollution near designated trout streams, Whitewater State Park, and the Whitewater Wildlife Management Area. The operation’s general manager said he made changes to the manure management plan in response to concerns. READ MORE

February 7, 2017, Fargo, ND – Landowners living near a planned large hog farm in rural Cass County argue that significant changes made to the permit should have reopened the case for more public comment.

The arguments Feb. 6 in Cass County District Court on behalf of the Concerned Citizens of Buffalo were in opposition to Pipestone Holdings' Rolling Green Family Farms, a 9,000-swine factory farm, which would be built about 40 miles west of Fargo. READ MORE

February 3, 2017, Des Moines, IA – There should be no concern Iowa farmers are using too much manure on crop ground.

Dan Andersen, an agriculture engineer at Iowa State University, said between 25 and 30 percent of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium needs are provided through manure usage. READ MORE

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