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."
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 pm
For more information, visit, http://agsource.com/
February 3, 2017 – Kuhn North America, Inc. is looking for customers and dealers to submit high-quality photos of their Kuhn branded equipment to be featured in an upcoming calendar.
Up to 15 entries will be selected as winners at the discretion of the Kuhn North America marketing department. Winning entries will be announced the week of July 3, 2017. Winning contestants will each receive a calendar featuring their winning photo and a $75 gifts and gear promotional gift certificate. The odds of winning will depend on the number of eligible entries.
To view the full contest rules, please visit the following website: http://www.kuhnnorthamerica.com/us/news-kuhn-calendar-photo-contest.html.
December 8, 2016, Smithfield, VA – Smithfield Foods, Inc. recently became the first major protein company to announce a far-reaching greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal throughout its entire supply chain, from feed grain to packaged bacon.
By 2025, Smithfield will reduce its absolute GHG emissions by 25 percent. When achieved, this goal will reduce emissions by more than four million metric tons, equivalent to removing 900,000 cars from the road. Smithfield collaborated with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in setting its goal.
"We are proud to lead the industry and set another first by launching an endeavor that is both environmentally beneficial and economically feasible," said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and chief executive officer for Smithfield Foods. "While we will have unique challenges meeting this goal as the world's largest pork processor and hog producer, our size and scale also means that, if successful, we can make a significant, positive impact. Our mission is to produce 'Good food. Responsibly.' This announcement is yet another acknowledgement of our commitment to doing just that."
Smithfield collaborated with the University of Minnesota's NorthStar Institute for Sustainable Enterprise to estimate its GHG footprint, creating a robust model that can assist other protein companies in analyzing their own footprints. EDF served as an adviser in the development of the commitment.
"There is much work ahead for Smithfield to reach its goal," said Fred Krupp, EDF president. "Success will require collaboration with farmers and others in the agricultural industry. We encourage companies to follow Smithfield's leadership to make ambitious commitments to improve air and water quality. It's important that the private sector play a role in protecting our natural resources."
This commitment impacts operations across Smithfield's supply chain, on company-owned farms, at processing facilities and throughout its transportation network. In its grain supply chain, Smithfield is collaborating with EDF to improve fertilizer efficiency and soil health, which will reduce nitrous oxide emissions from grain farms. On its hog farms, Smithfield will incorporate renewable energy and reuse projects that utilize technology such as anaerobic digesters and lagoon covers. Smithfield aims to install these technologies on at least 30 percent of company-owned farms. Smithfield will also continue to adopt measures that improve animal efficiency, resulting in improved feed conversion and productivity while reducing carbon emissions.
At its processing facilities, Smithfield will continue to improve energy efficiency through refrigeration, boiler and other equipment upgrades. Smithfield is optimizing its logistics network to better manage its animal and product transportation while reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions.
The absolute greenhouse gas emissions reduction will be measured from a 2010 baseline. Efforts toward this goal already underway will be included in the final results.
August 10, 2016 - Successful businesses depend on good employees. And finding good employees can be a tough task for farmers looking to maintain or expand their businesses. That was the message that Bernie Erven, Ohio State University professor emeritus, shared during the Growing Michigan Agriculture Conference Jan. 24 at the Lansing Center.
“Employee relations is one key to the growth of Michigan agriculture,” says Dale Rozeboom, Michigan State University Extension specialist and one of the conference organizers. “We invited Dr. Erven because we know that farmers often struggle when trying to hire and keep the best possible talent.”
Erven kicked off the conference by challenging attendees to think of a business that was thriving while its people were failing. He wasn’t surprised when none of the 75 people in attendance could come up with an example.
“No one single thing is more important than the people you hire,” he says, adding that far too many farmers try to keep everything in the family, even when it’s not in their best interest. “In agriculture, the hardest thing many people have to do is decide which family members to invite into the business.”
He suggested that business leaders develop a job description before making assumptions about family members’ fit in the organization.
“Before you even think about whom to hire, do a job analysis. Outline the job qualifications and put together a job description,” he says. “Too often the rule is ‘Anybody who needs a job in this family gets hired.’ But businesses that succeed hire only if they have a need in the business and the person fits.”
Next, he says, it’s important to build a pool of applicants. That means taking a long, hard look at how you spread the word about open positions.
“Talk to existing employees and find out why they like working for you,” he said. “If you want to hire seniors, for example, find out what they want and focus on that in your communication.”
As a final step, Erven says that interviewing is key to hiring success, even when hiring family members.
“Who else gets a job without an interview?” he asked the crowd. “An interview with family members can uncover a lot of information, both good and bad.”
And with outside candidates, he said that being a good interviewer is critical.
“There is no worse place to lose outstanding applicants than in a poor interview,” he pointed out. “It’s up to you to come across as a person they want to work for.”
Erven was one of six professionals chosen by Michigan State University Extension to discuss important concepts necessary to keep Michigan agriculture on a growth curve. You can see his suggestions for being a great interviewer, as well as other presentations by experts from across the country, on the Michigan State University Extension website, www.msue.msu.edu. Click on “Agriculture” and look for “Growing Michigan Agriculture Proceedings” in the Resource channel in the lower right section of the site.
This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu. To contact an expert in your area, visit http://expert.msue.msu.edu, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).
May 16, 2016, Gibsonburg, OH – A Gibsonburg business was honored for its work in reducing applied nutrients – such as manure – to farm sites.
The Andersons Farm Center recently received the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification after significantly reducing harmful nutrient run-off as part of its efforts to better protect water quality in Lake Erie. READ MORE
April 25, 2016, Kenosha, WI – Centrisys Corporation, a manufacturer of dewatering and thickening centrifuges, recently announced that it has been named a winner of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Nutrient Recycling Challenge.
The competition challenges companies worldwide to develop technological advancements that recycle nutrients from livestock manure more effectively.
Livestock producers manage over one billion tons of animal manure annually in the United States. Recognizing the need to accelerate products that address more effective management of this issue, the EPA created the Nutrient Recycling Challenge. Out of 75 submissions from companies worldwide, 34 were chosen to continue on to the design phase, and the Centrisys team was ranked as one of the top four winners.
Centrisys’ winning paper was titled Removal of Dissolved Nitrogen and Phosphorus from Livestock Manure by Air Stripping, and was developed in collaboration with CNP-Technology Water and Biosolids Corp. To maximize nutrient removal from the liquid fraction of manure, the team proposed treating anaerobically digested swine manure with AirPrex struvite precipitators before being dewatered with a decanter centrifuge. AirPrex is a CNP technology that utilizes CO2 stripping to convert the dissolved fraction of phosphorus and nitrogen into solid fertilizer struvite.
“Solid separation is the primary means of managing nutrients in livestock manure and Centrisys has been setting a standard for effective solid separation,” said Hiroko Yoshida, senior research and development engineer and project leader. “We’re proud to apply more than a decade of engineering knowledge in solids separation to manure management – helping livestock producers by developing reliable nutrient management solutions.”
Since 1987, Centrisys has been a manufacturer of decanter centrifuges, dewatering systems and process technologies for dewatering and water/solids separation in municipal, agriculture, and industrial applications. Centrisys introduced the industry’s first manure waste specific application for decanter centrifuges in the mid-2000s after extensive application and testing in dairy operations throughout the U.S.
February 25, 2016, Lanark, IL – The new showroom for E & S Equipment – a joint venture between Eastland Fabrication of Lanark and Stutsman Inc. from Hills, Ia – is up and running.
July 14, 2015 – Scientists have long known it was possible to use climate-changing methane – rather than oil or natural gas – to make water bottles, Tupperware and other plastics. But they couldn't do it cheaply enough to make the technology commercially viable.
Now, a small Costa Mesa company says it's cracked the code. It's lined up contracts with Dell, L'Oreal and other major corporations to supply the plastic for packaging, containers and chairs from potent methane that would've instead seeped into the atmosphere. Newlight Technologies chief executive Mark Herrema claims his company can make plastics cheaper than traditional alternatives, and he hopes to transform the plastic industry and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. READ MORE
July 2, 2015, Winnipeg, Man – The executive director of the Manitoba Livestock Manure Management Initiative says research planned for this summer will help manure applicators reduce the cost of relocating phosphorus from areas where it is in excess to areas where it is in short supply.
The Manitoba Livestock Manure Management Initiative, in partnership with Agra-Gold Consulting, is exploring beneficial management practices intended to optimize the removal, transportation and land application of nutrients from two-cell earthen manure storage lagoons on grow-finish operations.
MLMMI executive director John Carney says the focus of this project is to use three different techniques in terms of varying the sequence and timing of activities around the emptying of the storage, based on the phosphorus needs of the farm and the phosphorus profile of the soils.
“Our target audience includes quite a broad group, certainly producers, nutrient management planners, manure applicators, various government groups and the public itself and we are hoping that this can provide some insight into better ways that nutrient planners can work with manure applicators and producers to vary their activities around emptying a two cell manure storage and reduce the amount of phosphorus that needs to be transported, optimizing the nitrogen rich liquid closer to the farm,” said Carney.
“We know that phosphorus is precious and MLMMI is continuing to work with the industry in evaluating all options for relocating and redistributing phosphorus to where it's needed in Manitoba and so this is just one more on a series of projects that we've been engaged in.”
The project is scheduled to begin this summer and completed in August 2016.
May 12, 2015, Wakefield, MA — Alliance Tire Americas, Inc. (ATA) recently announced the kick-off of its farm tire rebate program, offering up to $1,200 per household in rebates (with as much as $100 off per tire).
The rebate is offered on Alliance branded radial farm tires in a variety of tread patterns and sizes, including the company’s highly popular FarmPro line, industry-leading flotation tires, and its hi-tech Alliance Agriflex IF/VF tires for tractors, combines and sprayers.
The Alliance Ag-Rewards Rebate is a mail-in promotion and will apply to tires purchased between April 1, 2015 and October 31, 2015, that are on the qualified list, and accompanied by an original sales receipt. Rebate forms must be submitted by the end user and postmarked by November 30, 2015 to qualify.
“We’re making it easy for customers to participate, and creating ways to spice up the tire-buying process,” said Bruce Besancon, vice president of marketing for ATA. “And, of course, the best part is that participating customers end up with outstanding Alliance brand farm tires and a little extra money in their pocket.”
January 16, 2015, Fort Atkinson, WI – The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) will present Digi-Star with an AE50 award for the NT8000i during their annual meeting in Louisville, Ky. in February.
The NT8000i is a complete rate control system for spreader systems and has been deemed one of the year’s most innovative designs in engineering products or systems for the food and agriculture industries.
"The NT8000i provides the precision control and automated traceability that the spreading industry demands,” said Chris Horton, Digi-Star product development manager.
"It has been a tremendous joint effort between our North American and United Kingdom development teams to introduce the NT8000i, and we are very excited about its far reaching potential," added Kevin Klubertanz, Digi-Star’s general manager.
Companies from around the world submit entries to the annual AE50 competition, and up to 50 of the best products are chosen by a panel of international engineering experts. The judges select products that will best advance engineering for the food and agriculture industries.
January 16, 2015, Hollidaysburg, PA — McLanahan Corporation announced recently that its Nutrient Separation System was selected by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) as a winner of an AE50 award.
The Nutrient Separation System was developed by McLanahan as a safer, simpler and smarter way for dairy producers to manage their manure, by separating nutrients and producing clean water. As a recipient of an AE50 award, this system has been deemed one of the year’s most innovative designs in engineering products or systems for the food and agricultural industries.
“We are very pleased and honored to have received this award,” said Sean McLanahan, CEO of McLanahan Corporation. “Our Agricultural Systems team worked hard developing a solution to help dairy producers better handle their manure, and the Nutrient Separation System has numerous benefits to our customers. We are very excited about its potential for the industry.”
Companies from around the world submit entries for the annual AE50 competition, which selects up to 50 products. Winners are selected by a panel of international engineering experts based on which entries will best advance engineering for the food and agricultural industries. The awards program is sponsored by ASBE’s Resource magazine to emphasize the role of new products and systems in bringing advanced technology to the marketplace.
December 22, 2014, Tampa, FL – MagneGas Corporation announced recently that it has completed construction of its latest Venturi sterilization system, which has been deployed to a major hog farm in Indiana.
The sterilization system is expected to process hog manure resulting in a high quality, low-odor fertilizer that the company believes can be safely used on crops. In addition, fuel will be produced as a byproduct that can be co-fired with propane or natural gas to reduce other fuel needs.
Following a successful demonstration, the Indiana farm owner has indicated he plans to purchase the system to use for his manure sterilization needs and partner with MagneGas to launch the market for the use of systems in the agricultural industry world-wide.
"I am excited that MagneGas has achieved this significant milestone,” said Ermanno Santilli, CEO of MagneGas. “Having the ability to test our new high flow Venturi system in a real world environment with such a highly respected stakeholder in the agricultural industry speaks volumes as to how far we have come as a company. We are looking forward to working with such a cutting edge farm on a system that we believe will change the way the world looks at liquid wastes."
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Webinar series: Innovative Business Models for AD, Part IIWed May 24, 2017 @ 2:00AM - 03:30PM
Iowa Manure Calibration & Distribution Field DayFri Jun 02, 2017 @ 1:00PM - 05:00PM
World Pork Expo 2017Wed Jun 07, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Manure Storage & Handling Safety WorkshopMon Jun 12, 2017 @ 6:00PM - 09:00PM
Anaerobic Digester Operator Training CourseTue Jun 13, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM