From the Editor: Continuing education and conversation
By Stefanie Croley
When you begin working in a new industry, it takes some time to understand the ins and outs and intricacies of it all. Having been at the helm of an editorial team overseeing Top Crop Manager (a sister magazine, also published by Manure Manager’s parent company, Annex Business Media) for several years, I’ve gleaned a lot of knowledge about the agriculture industry that transfers over to Manure Manager, but there’s still so much to learn.
I was reminded of this in August when I came across a fascinating news story about Kevin Solomon, an assistant professor at Purdue University in the department of agricultural and biological engineering. Solomon recently received the United States Department of Energy Career Award, which supports the development of research programs by notable scientists early on in their careers, for his groundbreaking efforts to improve the production of medicines and fuels from biomass by using manure from sheep, cows, horses, rhinos, zebras, wildebeests and giraffes.
Call it ignorance or naiveté, but I had to stop and re-read the last part of that sentence again. I know where manure comes from, of course, but for some reason I never thought about the potential of using waste from exotic animals (that is, those not native to North America) in such a high-level, technical manner. It was a reminder that the scope of this industry reaches far beyond what happens in the barn down the road.
Luckily, I have some great resources right in front of me. Within the pages of this magazine, we’ve covered new research, uncovered new products and shone light on issues that affect livestock producers and custom manure applicators across North America. For example, in our cover story on page 8, we explore research from Dr. Laura Good of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She’s found the benefits of windrow composting extend to water quality improvements – a hot topic amongst farms in all parts of North America.
We’ve also drawn some inspiration from exciting international projects in this issue. On page 18, you’ll read about mini digesters’ exciting entrance into the North American market after experiencing success in Europe. And, a Norweigian company’s innovative plasma reactor system shows potential for improved manure use efficiency.
Finally, you, our audience, will be the greatest source of information as I dip my feet into another aspect of the agriculture industry. From emails and interactions on social media, to a phone call or a conversation at an industry event, your lines of communication to the staff at Manure Manager are always open. If you have an interesting story idea or a piece of industry insight to share, please get in touch. After all, you’re the experts in your field – and it’s my job to share your story.