Business/Policy

June 21, 2017, Fair Oaks, IN – On June 16, Midwestern BioAg was joined by more than 80 local farmers, media and staff to celebrate the grand opening of its new TerraNu fertilizer manufacturing plant. The event, hosted at Fair Oaks Farms in Fair Oaks, IN, featured remarks from Midwestern BioAg leadership and Mike McCloskey, co-founder and chairman of the board at Fair Oaks Farms. READ MORE
June 8, 2016, Calgary, Alta. - Livestock Water Recycling is one of seven Calgary based technology companies who will receive over $2.5 million in federal government support to help bring their technology to the global marketplace.The LWR System is a disruptive technology that is used by dairy and hog producers to recover nutrients and recycle water from livestock manure.There are many benefits to managing manure in this way; these include cleaner sand for bedding, increased crop yields due to strategic nutrient application, and a much easier path to expansion should a producer so choose.This funding will be used to further develop a new module for RO cleaning that will reduce consumable costs and increase flow capacity. Not only will this advance manure treatment, but could potentially have applications across a variety of industries beyond livestock production.David Lametti, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada, made the funding announcement last week on the Minister's behalf during a visit to Innovate Calgary.The funding supports western-based companies that develop cutting-edge technology, create jobs, and spur the economy. The Government's Innovation Agenda aims to make Canada a global centre for innovation – one that drives economic growth by creating better jobs, opportunities, and living standards for all Canadians.
May 31, 2017, Orange County, Cali. - In the "Back to the Future" film franchise trilogy, Dr. Emmet Brown replaced the plutonium-based nuclear generator in the De Lorean time machine with a "Mr. Fusion" generator from the future that uses garbage as fuel. CR & R Environmental Services has a similar dream for the future – turning waste into energy through an advanced technology called anaerobic digestion. Anaerobic digestion produces "biogas" from organic waste in a zero waste, 100 percent renewable process.At a recent Economic Workforce Development Committee luncheon hosted by the Lake Elsinore Chamber of Commerce at the Diamond Club at Storm Stadium, Alex Braicovich, senior regional vice president at CR & R, shared the vision, the process and the progress of their initiative of "Turning Today's Waste into Tomorrow's Energy."CR & R, a full service, privately held, integrated waste management company based in Orange County, California, was founded in 1963 with one truck in a waste-hauling operation and later added two recycling trucks. Today, the company has grown to include 50 municipal contracts in Southern California and southwestern United States. They have 12 processing contracts and utilize 1,000 trucks every day with 1,600 employees that serve 2.5 million residential customers and 50,000 commercial customers. They have two solid waste facilities, five transfer stations and two landfills – a large one in Yuma, Arizona, and a smaller one serving Catalina Island.The company has always been on the leading edge, including having the first recycling buy-back center in Orange County, the first three-can, fully automated curbside collection system, the first network of Material Recovery Facilities and one of the first bio-filtration systems. READ MORE
May 25, 2017, Calgary, Alta. - Livestock Water Recycling has been named finalist for a Water Industry Achievement Award for Water Resource Management Initiative of the Year. Organized by WET News and Water & Wastewater Treatment, the awards celebrate innovation and best practices in the water sector, and are highly prized within the industry. Dairy and hog producers install the LWR System when they want smart, flexible, on-site nutrient recovery that allows them to expand their herds. The LWR System holds the industry record for the most installations and is helping producers make valuable nutrient products that are easy to export while recycling clean water that is used to clean sand, irrigate crops, and even water back to the livestock. "We are always pushing ourselves to consistently deliver leading-edge technologies to our customers while going above and beyond the call of duty," says Director of Operations, J.R. Brooks. "It is truly an honor to be recognized on this short list of companies who are each changing the water treatment landscape in their respective fields." LWR has created the only proven system on the market that segregates and concentrates manure nutrients while recycling clean water that can be used back on the farm. Today, over 590,000,000 million gallons of manure can be treated annually through LWR Systems that are currently installed across North America. Not only are nutrient values maximized, but this method of manure treatment currently results in the potential recovery of over 400 million of gallons of clean, reusable water. Enough water to fill 639 Olympic sized swimming pools, or the equivalent of the annual water consumption of over 13,000 Americans - and that number rises with every new installation. "To be recognized among the water industry's elite is a result of our ongoing desire to provide the livestock industry with proven, reliable technology that truly adds value to farming operations. We are excited to showcase our technology on the world stage" adds Brooks.
May 15, 2017, Raleigh, NC – PrairieChar, a Kansas company developing a system to convert animal manure into useful products, won the $10,000 cash prize and $3,500 in legal and financial advice at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center's 2017 Ag Biotech Entrepreneurial Showcase.PrairieChar Chairman and CEO Robert Herrington said he started the company because his wife made him buy her a horse farm. He suffered a broken back when a tree fell on him as he was clearing a pasture. Lying in bed recuperating, he called friends in California and asked them to send him business plans to review. One caught his eye."We're in the manure business," Herrington said of what has become his new adventure. "We take something you don't want and turn it into something you do."Manure is a cost center in the cattle, swine and poultry industries. It causes disposal and environmental problems. In North Carolina, one of the top swine producers in the nation, manure from swine and poultry adds up to 40 billion pounds a year. Swine manure put into lagoons causes odor and environmental problems that Herrington believes can be solved with PrairieChar's technology.PrairieChar, which Herrington said was engineered to be a scalable, cost-effective solution, is developing machines the size of cargo containers that can be placed next to a manure pile. The manure never has to be transported more than 300 feet. The company's revenue-share model means it gets the manure for nothing and farmers turn a cost center into a revenue stream.The machines turn the manure into two valuable sterile products, he said. The process eliminates emissions into the air and removes soil and water hazards. One product produced is a "100 percent OMRI organic fertilizer that can reduce conventional fertilizer needs."The other is a sustainable, renewable coal substitute that produces an ash that is actually valuable instead of being an environmental hazard like coal ash. It is 90 percent pure phosphate that can be sold for 25-cents to one-dollar a pound."We can change the way we're dealing with environmental issues," Herrington said. "We could convert manure into 33 million tons of our products annually."It would also create jobs paying $50,000 to $70,000 annually in rural America, he added.The machines cost $550,000 to build. The company recently opened a Series A round looking for $5 million. Although the company currently plans to begin operations on cattle manure in Kansas, Herrington said that if enough of its funding comes from North Carolina, it will target swine manure "sooner rather than later."
May 10, 2017, Bonduel, WI – While AgSource Laboratories is not "older than dirt," the organization does have a 50-year history of analyzing soil and contributing to the overall health and productivity of thousands of acres of land.What started as a county extension milk lab has grown into a full service agronomy lab, complete with nutrient management planning and GPS soil sampling services.AgSource Laboratories, in Bonduel, Wis., became a part of AgSource (then called ARC, Agricultural Records Cooperative) in August 1967. That first year, the lab processed just 5,301 soil samples. Today, the lab can analyze that many samples in under two days."We're very proud of the lab's long history," notes Steve Peterson, AgSource Vice President of Laboratory Services. "Bonduel has been a great community to work in. Thank you to our friends in Bonduel and thank you to our customers for 50 terrific years!"Over the years, the laboratory has specialized in forage, soil, plant tissue and manure testing. While forage testing is no longer offered, agronomy services have expanded to include VRT fertilizer recommendations, GPS soil sampling and nutrient management planning."Every day in the lab is different, which keeps things fun," comments Peterson. "It should be interesting to see how we continue to adapt and grow in the future."AgSource Laboratories, in Bonduel, Wis., will officially celebrate 50 years of soil testing services this August 2017. Customers, friends and community members are welcome to attend several special events this summer at the laboratory, located at 106 North Cecil Street. Stay tuned for more fun, 50th celebration announcements.• June Dairy Month Ice Cream Social – Wednesday, June 14, 2-4 pm• Anniversary Celebration Open House – Wednesday, August 16, 2-5 pmFor more information, visit, http://agsource.com/
July 18, 2017, Berlin/ Williston, Vermont - The Winooski Natural Resource Conservation District, in conjunction with the Vermont Association of Conservation Districts, UVM Extension and USDANRCS, are offering a program to help small farms write Nutrient Management Plans (NMP) to meet the new Required Agricultural Practices."By writing your own NMP you can: understand the nutrient needs of your soil, learn how to improve water quality and soil health on your farm, learn how to best use your manure on your land and meet a requirement of the state's Required Agricultural Practices." The Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District is here to help you at no cost. This free program for small farms that spread manure, benefits from District staff working one-on-one with the farmer to collect and analyze soil and manure and create an individualized plan through in class instruction. Participants will receive a land treatment plan that identifies what management practices can be implemented that will protect not only water quality and soil health, but the economic viability of the farm.Farmers in Chittenden and Washington County interested in participating in the NMP class or learning more about Agricultural Best Management Practices that can be implemented please visit: www.winooskinrcd.org or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .The deadline to register for this years' class is July 31, 2017. Our updated website contains valuable resources and available assistance for farmers. In addition links to handouts, presentations and upcoming workshops on the new Required Agricultural Practices.The Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District is one of 14 conservation districts throughout Vermont. It encompasses all of Chittenden and Washington County as well as parts of Orange County (Orange, Williamstown and Washington). The district relies on grants and individual donations to complete its conservation work. The WNRCD focuses its resources on completing conservation projects within the areas of agricultural assistance, forestland enhancement, urban conservation and watershed stewardship.
June 2, 2016, London, OH – A little over two months remain before this year’s edition of the North American Manure Expo (NAME), being held August 3 and 4, 2016, near London, Ohio. Registration is free and available online here. Two action-packed days have been planned. On August 3, attendees can choose from one of three tours, including dairy, beef plus composting and nutrient management. Pit agitation and solid/liquid manure separation demonstrations will also be held at a local dairy in the afternoon. The Manure Expo grounds open at 3 p.m. with educational sessions involving a presentation from Livestock Water Recycling, Puck Pump School plus information on small farm manure management and cover crops. On August 4, the grounds will open at 7:30 a.m. and feature a full day of educational sessions covering everything from anaerobic digestion to water quality. Manure application demonstrations, including solid and liquid manure spreaders, compost turners, subsurface drainage plus spreader calibration, are also planned. The event is being held at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center, home of Ohio’s Farm Science Review, located near London, Ohio. For more information on the 2016 North American Manure Expo, including a detailed agenda of tours and educational sessions plus directions to the Molly Caren Agricultural Center, please click here. The North American Manure Expo provides a perfect opportunity for custom applicators and livestock producers to advance their knowledge of manure-nutrient utilization while showcasing the latest technology in manure handling, treatment and application. The 2015 expo, held in Chambersburg, Penn., was a winner of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. The 2016 edition of the show promises to be just as exciting and educational. The 2016 North American Manure Expo is being hosted by The Ohio State University and the Midwest Professional Nutrient Applicators Association. The event is owned by the Professional Nutrient Applicators Association of Wisconsin. Annex Business Media, publisher of Manure Manager magazine, serves as the show manager.
February 3, 2016, Chambersburg, PA – A roughly four-hour forum on the Wilson College campus Saturday on so-called “factory farming,” drew 75 people or more. The basic problem voiced was how to feed a growing world population with diminishing resources without turning much of the planet into a poisonous, stinking mess. READ MORE
February 2, 2016, Columbus, OH — Scientists are actively pursuing answers to how nutrients are moving and leaving farmers’ fields in the western Lake Erie basin, and the results could be a little surprising. Mark Williams, a Columbus-based soil drainage researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, gave Ohio Farmers Union members an update on research regarding tile drainage and surface runoff. READ MORE
July 31, 2015, Aledo, IL – In 2013, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 500 farmers died on the job, while another 70,000 suffered disabling injuries. The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) was in Aledo July 30 to attempt to keep area farmers from becoming one of those statistics. Brad Kruse of NECAS emphasized manure pit safety during his about two-hour presentation. As part of the presentation, he brought the NECAS Confined Space Manure Pit Simulator. READ MORE
February 3, 2015, Green Bay, WI – As the animal agriculture industry evolves, the handing of manure is becoming more complex with waste streams processed for energy, fertilizer, bedding and potable water production. To keep abreast of the latest technologies and techniques in animal waste management, University of Wisconsin-Extension invites you to the 2015 Midwest Manure Summit being held February 24 and 25, 2015, at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Green Bay, Wisc. During this two-day event, industry leaders will discuss manure separation and treatment technologies, including: water recycling systems, liquid-solid separation systems, anaerobic digesters, odor management, manure irrigation, and more. Nationally recognized speakers include: Dr. John Chastain, associate professor, Agricultural Waste Management, Clemson University who will be discussing Planning a Solid-Liquid Separation System to Meet Manure Treatment and Management Goals Dr. Kevin Janni, professor, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, University of Minnesota speaking on Manure Odor Management Dr. Mark Powell, soil scientist, USDA-ARS, US Dairy Forage Research Center presenting on The Rations We Feed Dairy Cattle Impact Manure Chemistry and Nutrient Dynamics in Soil, Water and Air Doug Renk, biological commissioning engineer, BIOFerm USA, discussing Compact, Containerized Anaerobic Digester: On-Farm Energy Creation for Small-Medium Dairies Dr. Ariel Szogi, soil scientist, USDA-ARS, Coastal Plains Soil, Water, and Plant Research Center will be presenting on Nutrient Recovery Technologies from Animal Manure Farm tours of two local dairies, one utilizing a methane digester for manure treatment and energy production, round out the second day the summit. Early bird registration for the 2015 Midwest Manure Summit is $195 for the two-day conference, which includes printed proceedings, lunches, transportation to and from the featured farms, and refreshments. One-day registration and late registration (after February 16, 2015) is also available. A complete agenda, speaker list, and registration details can be found in the brochure or on the summit website at http://www.midwestmanure.com. Questions regarding the Midwest Manure Summit can be directed to its co-chairmen: Liz Binversie, Brown County UW-Extension agriculture educator, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 920-391-4612, or Eric Ronk, Calumet County UW-Extension agriculture agent at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 920-849-1450 Ext: 2. The 2015 Midwest Manure Summit is sponsored by UW-Extension, Bauer North America, DAIRYBUSINESS, Komro Sales, Manure Manager, AgSource Laboratories, Livestock Water Recycling, Inc, and Puck Custom Enterprises, Inc.
July 28, 2017, Vancouver, B.C. - A spin-off company from the University of British Columbia is promising to make a crap job a good deal easier and cleaner, with a scalable waste-processing system.Manure management practices on local dairy farms routinely raise a stink from their residential neighbours when the slurry is sprayed on fields, as well as from American farmers who complain of cross-border water pollution resulting from excess nutrient runoff.Boost Environmental Systems, a new firm, is testing a system that uses microwave heat and hydrogen peroxide to drastically reduce the volume and the composition of manure and sewage solids. The resulting waste is easily digestible with existing systems and the liquid is a rich source of a commercially valuable fertilizer called struvite.Demonstration-sized units are installed at the UBC Dairy Education Centre in Agassiz and the James Wastewater Treatment Plant in Abbotsford, according to Chief Technology Officer Asha Srinivasan, a post-doctoral fellow at UBC. A third pilot installation is being planned with Metro Vancouver. READ MORE 
July 20, 2017, NY - On Wednesday, Aug. 9, the New York Ag Leadership Luncheon at Empire Farm Days will honor Mike and Peter Dueppengiesser as recipients of the 2017 Agricultural Environmental Management Award. Ag Commissioner Richard Ball is scheduled to present the Empire State's top environmental award to this third-generation family farm for their exemplary environmental management.The brothers' Dueppengiesser Dairy Co. of Perry, N.Y., is proof that farms can grow and be both sustainable and profitable by being environmentally responsible. They closely worked with Wyoming County Soil and Water Conservation District to meet the state's top (Tier 5) standards while growing their business from 110 milking cows and 750 acres in 1990 to today's 1,100-cow milking herd and 2,100 cropland acres. READ MORE 
July 19, 2017, Washington - The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced July 7, an award of $1 million to the Stillaguamish Tribe for an innovative project in dairy nutrient management at Natural Milk Dairy in Stanwood.As the lone recipient in Washington state of a nationally funded Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG), the tribe proposes to demonstrate successful implementation of an emerging animal nutrient treatment system for dairy farms. The technology, originally developed to address human waste in developing countries, is now being adapted to treat dairy nutrients. READ MORE
July 11, 2017, Oregon - A dedication to protecting the environment, maintaining good employee relations and preserving herd health has earned Louie Kazemier of Rickreall Dairy an Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability Award from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.The award, now in its sixth year, is awarded for a dairy's use of sustainable practices in areas of cow care, energy conservation, water conservation, nutrient management, and business and employee relations.Rickreall is the first dairy from Oregon to win the award. It was one of only three such awards in the country this year, and the only one west of the Mississippi River.Kazemier, who has managed Rickreall Dairy since 1991, summed up his commitment to sustainability as a constant effort "to do the right thing.""I believe that if we know a better way to do stuff and don't do it, I don't think we are honoring our purpose here in life," he said.His work on the dairy, more than defining him, he said is an extension of his philosophy on life.Among reasons cited by the U.S. Dairy Innovation Center for Kazemier's award are his philanthropic efforts to help others.Kazemier travels regularly to Uganda to instruct dairy farmers, build housing and mentor young men. In Oregon, Kazemier built Camp Attitude, a camp for families with special-needs children.In Rickreall, residents know him for his open-door policy, and the steps he takes to be a good neighbor."We are ultra-sensitive to the public," Kazemier said. "We only irrigate certain fields, certain times of the day, because of wind direction and concerns with odor. And we have an open door policy, where anybody who wants to see the dairy can come in. We bring in a minimum of 2,000 school children a year at no cost to the schools."When it comes to the environmental improvements, Kazemier worked with Energy Trust of Oregon and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to upgrade his barn lighting and parlor laundry systems, steps that have reduced his energy use by hundreds of thousands of kilowatts per year.Kazemier's nutrient management plan involves applying only the amount of nutrients plants take up, so nutrients don't leave the soil profile. He conducts water-quality tests in a nearby creek on a quarterly basis, and takes soils tests on the farm's cropland on an annual basis, just to be sure.Additionally, Kazemier provides neighboring farmer Scott Zeigler excess manure nutrients from Rickreall Dairy in exchange for feed, an arrangement that has proved beneficial to both parties.Kazemier's father-in-law, Gus Wybenga, a third-generation dairy farmer who expanded and redesigned Rickreall Dairy when he purchased it in 1990, designed it with water conservation in mind. Kazemier has refined the system to capture and conserve water, and ensure that tap water is recycled at least three times before being used for irrigation.And Kazemier has arranged with a local food processor to take excess waste water off the processor's hands, an arrangement that, again, benefits both parties.When it comes to his 3,500 cows, Kazemier works closely with a nutritionist, a veterinarian and a herd manager to regulate and monitor herd health. And he uses computer software to track daily milk production and maintain health and treatment records.Rickreall Dairy meets most of its feed needs through double-cropping ryegrass silage and corn silage and on the dairy's 1,100 acres of cropland. Kazemier supplements that with high-quality alfalfa hay, along with two byproducts from a local biofuel production plant, plus mineral supplements, beet pulp, cottonseed, hominy and corn grain, and the feed he gets from Zeigler Farms.Kazemier uses composted manure solids for cow bedding, a practice that, in addition to providing a comfortable and sanitary bedding, also provides another beneficial use for dairy waste, and he has removed exterior walls to improve air circulation in the dairy's five free-stall barns.According to John Rosecrans, the dairy's nutritionist, Rickreall Dairy cows consistently rank as an "A" herd, exhibiting high milk-production-to-feed rates, low cull rates and high pregnancy rates – all key elements in a dairy's success."This is one of those dairies where you can walk through the cow pens and they don't run from you, they follow you," Rosecrans said. "That tells you a lot about a farm."Then there are the dairy's twenty-five year-round employees, workers with an average a tenure of twenty years."People don't quit very quickly here," Kazemier said, "and I take a lot of pride in that, because agriculture is a tough business, and my guys, they know that I've got their back if they put one-hundred percent into this job."Indeed, cows, people, the community and the environment all seem to benefit from their association with Louie Kazemier and Rickreall Dairy.
July 7, 2017, Chicago, IL - The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy®, established under the leadership of dairy farm families and importers, announced its sixth annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards in a June 28 Chicago ceremony. The program recognizes dairy farms, businesses and partnerships whose practices improve the well-being of people, animals and the planet.From farm to table, transparency and ingenuity drive dairy forward, as demonstrated in the newly released 2016 Sustainability Report, which describes the Innovation Center's strategic plan focused on social responsibility. The plan was developed by dairy community leaders in recognition of the changing consumer and customer marketplace where health, environmental and ethical practices are of increasing interest.Award winners represent the U.S. dairy community's voluntary efforts toward continuous improvement in sustainability."This year's winners demonstrated impressive leadership and creativity in the application of technology and other practices that protect our land, air and water," said Barbara O'Brien, president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. "And, they're proactive about building strong relationships with their communities and employees. Based on this year's nominations, it's clear that dairy farms and companies of all sizes use sustainable practices because it's good for the environment, good for their community and good for business."Judges evaluated nominations based on their economic, environmental and community impact. The independent judging panel — including experts working with and throughout the dairy community — also considered learning, innovation, scalability and replicability.Through creative problem solving, this year's winners addressed water quality, soil fertility, community outreach, energy efficiency and more."These award-winning practices can serve as models for other farmers, too," said Jason Bateman, dairy farmer, 2016 award winner and one of this year's judges. "Winners made breakthroughs, and they improved everyday practices. It's inspiring to see people collaborate with partners outside of dairy and build on ideas from other industries."The 2017 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards winners are:Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability:Kinnard Farms, Casco, WisconsinThe Kinnard family milks more than 7,000 cows — a scale that allows them to maximize cow comfort while supporting their rural community. They retain the area's young, college-educated residents by employing them to innovate farm technology. The Kinnards are often on the cutting edge; they made a first-of-its-kind sand recycling center — one that uses no freshwater in the process — to separate, wash and dry sand for repeated use. Sand is this farm's preferred bedding material because it provides comfort and sure footing for cows and is bacteria free, keeping udders healthy.Rickreall Dairy, Rickreall, OregonRickreall, Ore., residents know Louie Kazemier as a good neighbor. In fact, his relationships are the force behind his farm's frequent improvements. For example, when solids were building up in the manure lagoon, Louie initiated trade with a seed farmer to provide fertilizer in exchange for feed. He also collaborated with a local food processor to use their wastewater for irrigation. Kazemier depends on a whole-system approach to tend to what matters — and that turns out to be everything. The results are big: for one, most of the dairy's 25 employees have been there for more than 20 years.SwissLane Farms, Alto, MichiganThis farm is 23 miles from downtown Grand Rapids, the second-largest city in Michigan. That poses both pressures from urban sprawl and opportunities to reach people several generations removed from the farm. Since 2006, SwissLane's Dairy Discovery program has taken advantage of this opportunity, offering farm tours that have reached more than 36,000 students, teachers and families. They have plenty to demonstrate when it comes to sustainable practices. After a farm energy audit, SwissLanes Dairy made improvements that reduced energy costs by 17 percent per cow. They also took steps to become verified through the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program.Outstanding Dairy Processing & Manufacturing Sustainability:Glanbia Nutritionals, Evanston, IllinoisWhile consumers don't see the Glanbia Nutritionals brand in their grocery stores, it has a big footprint as one of the leading manufacturers of American-style cheese and whey. To implement a sustainability plan, they started with a single plant in Idaho. The team determined priority impact areas, measured social presence, determined metrics to demonstrate progress and identified areas where additional resourcing was needed. By 2016, the company had replicated this approach with three more plants and adopted a global sustainability strategy that promises to "nurture, grow and sustain the lives of our employees, milk producers, customers, consumers and communities."Outstanding Achievement in Resource StewardshipKellercrest Registered Holsteins, Inc., Mount Horeb, WisconsinThe Keller family participated in the Pleasant Valley Watershed Project, a collaboration among state, local and national agencies to reduce the local watershed's phosphorous load. Results were dramatic and positive. In fact, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is expected to propose removing the Pleasant Valley branch from the EPA's list of sediment-impaired streams. Other farms that participated in the project saw economic benefits too, and this spurred them to form a group to build on the learnings. The Kellers, whose family has farmed the hills of Mount Horeb since the late 1840s, saw cost savings as well as environmental benefits.Honorable Mention: Mercer Vu Farms, Mercersburg, PennsylvaniaThe Hissong family needed a manure management system that allowed them to maintain their high standard of cow comfort while protecting the Chesapeake Bay watershed. They looked at industries outside of agriculture to devise something dairy farms can replicate. They developed a system that allows them to use manure solids for cow bedding and for compost, while using phosphorus from the liquid manure as crop fertilizer in a targeted application. Their new system eliminated greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing 740 cars from the road.Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships:Oakland View Farms & Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy, Caroline County, MarylandEnvironmental communities and farmers haven't always seen eye to eye – especially in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, where water quality is a significant issue. But these groups identified a common goal: improve the community's water quality through cost-effective projects that could be replicated. They did that with a woodchip bioreactor – the first of its kind in Maryland – that eliminated nitrogen from agricultural drainage water. An effective, virtually maintenance-free solution, it eliminates 48 pounds of nitrate-nitrogen from flowing into the Chesapeake Bay each year.Honorable Mention: Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, The Kroger Co. of MichiganMichigan Milk Producers Association and Michigan State University Extension, Novi, MichiganThe benefits of milk's nutrient-dense profile have long been established. But the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) relied on lesser-known qualities to help the residents of Flint, Mich. during a crisis in which they were susceptible to lead poisoning from contaminated water. Calcium and iron, found in dairy, can help mitigate health risks of lead consumption. Through a comprehensive partnership, 589,824 servings of milk were donated to those in need. Now there's a donation model to show this is possible in other communities affected by potential lead contamination.Honorable Mention: U.S. Dairy Education & Training Consortium Extension, College Station, TexasThe need for skilled agricultural professionals in the southwestern United States continues to grow, especially as universities across the region have reduced or eliminated their dairy programs. USDETC thrives today thanks to farmers and other dairy industry professionals. The goal: train animal and dairy science, agribusiness and pre-veterinary students on practical aspects of modern dairy management. Students study and visit as many different dairies, management styles and developmental stages as possible. It's all about growing participants' understanding of what a dairy operation entails so they're better equipped to lead.
June 29, 2017, Chatham, Ont. – The Thames River Phosphorus Reduction Collaborative is developing innovative tools, practices and technologies to help farmers and municipalities reduce phosphorus and algal blooms in the southwestern Ontario watershed which feeds into Lake Erie. The project was officially launched at a press conference this week."We're determined to improve the quality of water in the Thames, and that means working with everyone from farmers to drainage engineers and conservation authorities to First Nations and universities to come up with practical, cost-effective water management and drainage solutions for both urban and agricultural areas," said Randy Hope, Mayor of Chatham-Kent and the project's co-chair.Elevated levels of phosphorus in water that runs off agricultural fields and collects in municipal drains can trigger the growth of toxic algal blooms in downstream water bodies. The western basin of Lake Erie has experienced several such incidents in recent years, disrupting the ecosystem, causing the closure of beaches and even, in Toledo, Ohio a ban on city drinking water for two days. Lake St. Clair, which is an indirect pathway to Lake Erie, has also been experiencing problems with near-shore algal blooms.Among the initiatives aimed at resolving the problem is a commitment made in 2016 between Canada and the U.S. to a 40 per cent reduction in the total phosphorus entering Lake Erie. There is also a commitment among Ohio, Michigan and Ontario to reduce phosphorus by 40 per cent by 2025."We're doing research with the goal of creating a suite of tools and practices that farmers can use to address different situations," said Mark Reusser, Vice-President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (TBC). He added that the group has gathered research from around the world and is looking into how it could be applied locally.Project partners are working to fulfill some of the recommendations made in the "Partnering in Phosphorus Control" Draft Action Plan for Lake Erie that the Canadian and Ontario governments released in March. The governments completed a public consultation in May and are expected to have a plan in place next year.The project's new website is at www.thamesriverprc.comThe project is administered by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. It was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.

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