Programs, Grants & Awards
June 14, 2017 - A bill within the House is proposing to establish federal tax credits for farmers who invest in nutrient recovery systems.

The Agricultural Environmental Stewardship Act was introduced in the House last week by bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wisc., and cosponsor U.S. Rep. Tom Reed. Bipartisan legislation aims to promote new technological investments that produce energy and limit runoff into waterways.

The proposal could benefit farmers within the Chautauqua Lake watershed and elsewhere by making nutrient recovery systems like manure digesters more affordable. Manure digesters collect manure and convert the energy stored in its organic matter into methane. READ MORE
Published in News
June 9, 2017, Washington, D.C. - Nominations are now being accepted for the 20th annual Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year Award, which is co-sponsored by IDFA and Dairy Herd Management magazine.

The winner will be honored at Dairy Forum 2018, January 21-24 at the J.W. Marriott Desert Springs in Desert Spring, Calif. Nominations must be submitted by August 25, 2017, and there is no fee to enter.

The call asks for nominations of active U.S. dairy farms that are improving on-farm efficiency through progressive management practices, production technologies and/or marketing approaches.

Nominees will be judged on current methods as well as their positioning to meet future economic and business challenges.

The award recipient will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Dairy Forum to attend a special presentation ceremony held during the program. The person nominating the winner will receive complimentary registration to Dairy Forum.

In addition, the winning operation will be highlighted in the January 2018 issue of Dairy Herd Management.

Dairy Forum is widely recognized as the most important processor and producer conference of the year for the U.S. dairy industry. The 2017 event drew an impressive crowd of more than 1,100 industry participants.  

For more information, visit: http://www.idfa.org/docs/default-source/awards-documents/2018_innovative_dairy_farmer_form.pdf?sfvrsn=e9f2caa5_2 




Published in Profiles
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.
Published in Companies
June 5, 2017, PA - Pennsylvania is offering a limited number of $1,000 grants to dairy farmers to help pay for the cost of developing plans to meet baseline agricultural compliance.

The grants can be used to offset some of the costs of preparing Nutrient Management, Manure Management and Agriculture Erosion and Sediment Control Plans. Time is of the essence, however, because grant money must be spent by June 30.

Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), those with 1,000 or more animal units, already must have Nutrient Management Plans in order to operate. But all Pennsylvania livestock farms, regardless of size, must have Manure Management and Agriculture Erosion and Sediment Control plans.

In fact, the requirement for a Manure Management Plan has been on the books since 1972.

Having basic manure management plans in place has been an expectation for decades. However, inspections are now occurring in Pennsylvania. READ MORE
Published in Dairy
May 31, 2017, Arlington, VA – The National Dairy FARM Program has released its Environmental Stewardship Continuous Improvement Reference Manual in cooperation with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

Released in celebration of Earth Day, the guide provides a comprehensive suite of on-farm management practices to reduce a farm's environmental footprint and improve its profitability.

Specifically, the manual features a detailed explanation of the FARM Environmental Stewardship (ES) module, as well as strategies to reduce on-farm greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in various areas of farm management, including feed, manure, energy, forage, and animal health.

FARM ES is a voluntary, farmer-driven tool that helps producers expand their sustainability efforts by using a limited amount of data about their farm. The module is based on a life-cycle assessment (LCA) of fluid milk conducted by the Applied Sustainability Center at the University of Arkansas, incorporating existing data from more than 500 dairy farms across the United States.

Launched in February, FARM ES is the third of the FARM Program's three silos, including Animal Care and Antibiotic Stewardship.

The FARM ES reference manual was developed by FARM and includes previous work completed by the Innovation Center. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) led an independent review of the manual using a panel of subject matter experts.

"In an increasingly resource scarce world, we need to produce more food on the current amount of land, with less inputs and environmental impacts," said Sandra Vijn, director for markets and food at WWF. "FARM ES will support U.S. dairy farmers in continuously identifying better management practices for environmental stewardship. That is why WWF works with NMPF, the industry and dairy experts to ensure the program produces the best resources and solutions for farmers in terms of environmental sustainability."

This manual further demonstrates the dairy industry's culture of continuous improvement, the focus of the FARM Program.

Since 1944, the carbon footprint of a gallon of milk has decreased by 63 percent – a leading example of farmers' dedication to being good stewards of natural resources.

In addition to the manual, the FARM Program has developed an extensive library of resources regarding the program and environmental stewardship.
Published in Dairy
May 26, 2017, Reynoldsburg, OH - The Ohio Department of Agriculture recently introduced two new nutrient management tools intended to help farmers track planting conditions, and conserve nutrients.

The Ohio Applicator Forecast is a new online tool designed to help nutrient applicators identify times when the potential nutrient loss from a fertilizer or manure application is low.

Secondly, the Ohio Agricultural Stewardship Verification Program is a pilot certification for farmers who protect farmland and natural resources by implementing best management practices on their farms.

Both programs are voluntary and were announced by Ohio Agriculture Director David Daniels, at an event at Drewes Farms in Custar, May 17. READ MORE
Published in News
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.

Published in Companies
May 24, 2017, Hoytville, OH - Two small sections in Wood and Henry counties were selected by the Ohio Department of Agriculture for a pilot program.

The announcement was made at the Drewes farm in Jackson Township.

The pilot program is called the Ohio Agricultural Stewardship Verification Program. ODA Director David Daniels made the announcement and apologized for the long name, adding, "but that's what it is."

The program is currently only for those in the watersheds of Cutoff Ditch in Wood County and Upper Beaver Creek in Henry County.

Daniels anticipates this program going statewide fairly quickly. It is designed to provide certification for farmers who protect farmland and natural resources by implementing best management practices on their farms. READ MORE
Published in News
May 23, 2017, Potsdam, NY – Clarkson University will use federal funding to advance anaerobic digestion techniques for small-to-medium-scale dairy farmers.

The university will work in conjunction with the Cornell Cooperative Extension farm dairy specialists on farms working to improve manure management.

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand recently announced $500,000 in new federal funding for Clarkson University.

The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

NIFA grants support research and programs that help dairy producers and growers achieve long-term viability, high yield, and labor efficient production of local agricultural products. READ MORE
Published in Anaerobic Digestion
May 19, 2017, Waunakee, WI - Once infamous for spills, permit violations and even an explosion, the manure digester just north of Waunakee is now receiving accolades from an environmental group dedicated to clean lakes.

The Clean Lakes Alliance presented Clean Fuel Partners, LLC, the digester operator, with the Lumley Leadership Award for Lake Stewardship for its efforts to reduce phosphorus entering the Yahara Watershed.

"We were completely surprised and caught off guard when we were announced," said Clean Fuel CEO John Haeckel. "I would like to think it's because we have been working to make the Waunakee facility work, to sort of resurrect it from a place where it wasn't successful."

The manure digester was originally built in partnership with Dane County and operated by a different company, Clear Horizons, with the intention of removing algae-causing phosphorus from three area farms that would otherwise flow into lakes and streams.

The digester also captures methane in the process to produce energy. READ MORE
Published in Anaerobic Digestion
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."
Published in Companies
May 9, 2017, Sacramento, Cali. - The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is now accepting applications for project funding from the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program (DDRDP), authorized by the Budget Act of 2016.

This program receives funding from California Climate Investments Program, with proceeds from the state's cap-and-trade auctions, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while providing a variety of additional benefits to California communities.

CDFA-DDRDP will award between $29 million and $36 million for the installation of dairy digesters in California that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Existing milk producers and dairy digester developers can apply for funding of up to $3 million per project for anaerobic digestion projects that provide quantifiable greenhouse gas reductions. The program requires a minimum of 50 percent of total project cost as matching funds.

Prospective applicants must access the "Request for Applications" at www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/DD for detailed information on eligibility and program requirements.

To streamline and expedite the application process, CDFA is partnering with the State Water Resources Control Board, which hosts an online application tool, 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 Wednesday, June 28, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. PT.

CDFA will hold two workshops and one webinar to provide information on program requirements and the FAAST application process (see below). CDFA staff will provide guidance on the application process, provide several examples and answer any questions. There is no cost to attend the workshops. Individuals planning to attend should email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with his or her contact information, number of seats required and the workshop location.

Sacramento – Friday, May 12, 2017
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
California Department of Food and Agriculture
2800 Gateway Oaks Drive, Room 101
Sacramento, CA 95833

Tulare – Monday, May 15, 2017
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Tulare County Agricultural Building Auditorium
4437 S. Laspina Street
Tulare, CA 93274

Webinar – Tuesday, May 16, 2017
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
To register for the webinar, please visit the program webpage at www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/DD.

Prospective applicants may contact CDFA's Grants Office at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with general program questions.

Published in Anaerobic Digestion
May 1, 2017 Oshkosh, WI – This June, we're launching our hands-on Digester Operator Training Course at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh from June 13-15.

This is a must-attend event for any operator, owner, developer or anyone looking for hands-on digester operations experience. Attendees will have the opportunity learn from top digester operators to learn how to increase biogas production, digestate quality, revenue and avoid costly, time-consuming and smelly mistakes.

Over three days, digester operations experts from the American Biogas Council and UW-Oshkosh will start the morning with you in the classroom and ERIC lab to review topics from operations basics and safety to advanced topics like lab testing and operation software and remote monitoring. Then, we'll head to a digester to spend half or more of each day working with the operations team, turning valves, collecting samples and troubleshooting issues. We'll have three different types of digesters for you to experience – continuous mix, dry fermentation and plug flow.

Sign up before the class fills up.
Published in Anaerobic Digestion
April 28, 2017, Guelph, Ont. - Member of Parliament Lloyd Longfield (Guelph) today announced a $2.2 million investment with the University of Guelph to develop technologies, practices and processes that can be adopted by farmers to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The three projects with the university are supported by the $27 million Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP), to help the Canadian farming sector become a world leader in the development and use of clean and sustainable agricultural technologies and practices. These projects will also help farmers increase their understanding of GHG emissions.

The AGGP covers four priority areas of research: livestock systems, cropping systems, agricultural water use efficiency and agro-forestry.

"This is a significant investment in U of G research, innovation, and knowledge mobilization. All three of these projects will help improve life and protect our planet, from improving agroforestry practices, to developing crop fertilization methods that reduce emissions, to use of aerial devices to assess soil carbon levels and elevate precision agriculture," said Malcolm Campbell, Vice-President (research), University of Guelph

The new AGGP investments will continue to support the work of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, which brings together 47 countries to find ways to grow more food without growing greenhouse gas emissions. READ MORE
Published in News
April 25, 2017, Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf recently announced the investment of $39 million for 12 drinking water, wastewater, storm water, and non-point source projects across nine counties through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST).

The investment includes four projects aimed at improving manure control facilities:

Chester County
  • Chester County Conservation District and Elmer Kaufman received a $408,039 grant to install a variety of manure control facilities, including a concrete waste storage structure, gutters and downspouts, four catch basins and new pipes, as well as planting 900 feet of new grass waterways, in order to reduce nutrient run-off into Two Log Run during wet weather.
Lancaster County
  • Chester County Conservation District and Daniel Esh received a $350,467 grant to install a variety of manure control facilities, including more than 1,000 square feet of paved and curbed barnyard as well as 14,400 square feet of reinforced gravel animal trail, in order to reduce nutrient run-off into a tributary of the East Branch of Octoraro Creek during wet weather.
  • Chester County Conservation District and Fiddle Creek Dairy received a $245,494 grant to install a roofed manure stacking structure, a watering facility, underground outlets, as well as animal trails and walkways that will serve to reduce nutrient run-off into a tributary of Big Beaver Creek during wet weather.
  • Chester County Conservation District and David Stoltzfus received a $347,055 grant to make a variety of improvements it manure handling facilities as well as installing reinforced gravel animal walkways, a stream crossing and streambank fencing, all of which will reduce nutrient run-off into Muddy Run during wet weather.
"Today marked another special day for the PENNVEST program and for the citizens of Pennsylvania. By approving almost $40 million in funding for clean water projects across the commonwealth, the PENNVEST Board continued its commitment to improve the quality of our rivers and streams, the health of our families and the economic prosperity of our state", said Governor Wolf. "Together we will further the achievement of these goals and make Pennsylvania an even more desirable place to live and work for this and future generations."

Of the $39 million, $18.2 million is allocated for low-interest loans and $20.8 million is awarded through grants.

The funding comes from a combination of state funds approved by voters, federal grants to PENNVEST from the Environmental Protection Agency and recycled loan repayments from previous PENNVEST funding awards. Funds for the projects are disbursed after bills for work are paid and receipts are submitted to PENNVEST. READ MORE
Published in News
April 18, 2017, Ames, IA – Iowa State University's Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture would be closed under a House-Senate agriculture bill unveiled April 12. The bill would cut the state's general fund budget for state agriculture and natural resources programs by 5.6 percent compared to the current fiscal year.
Published in Business/Policy

March 29, 2017, Des Moines, IA – Ben Puck, owner of Puck Custom Enterprises (PCE) in Manning, Iowa, was recently named Iowa’s 2017 Small Business Person of the Year.

Published in Companies

February 8, 2017, Annapolis, MD – The Maryland Department of Agriculture is offering cost share grants to help farmers cover the cost of injecting manure and other eligible organic nutrients into cropland, which lowers potential for nutrient runoff and reduces on-farm odors.

Although manure injection is no longer required by Maryland’s Nutrient Management Regulations, the department is promoting the practice to help farmers improve nutrient efficiencies. Cost share funding is only available for manure injection; manure incorporation is no longer being cost shared.

Cost share assistance is available to hire custom operators, rent or lease equipment, or offset operating costs associated with using equipment needed to inject manure into the soil. Cost share rates for manure injection are $55 per acre. While manure transportation costs are not covered by this program, eligible farms may participate in the department’s Manure Transportation Program.

Grants for manure injection are administered by the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost Share (MACS) Program. Applicants must be in good standing with the program to participate and in compliance with Maryland’s Nutrient Management Regulations. All work must be completed by July 1, and all claims for payment received by July 30. Other restrictions apply.

Farmers should visit their local soil conservation district office as soon as possible to apply.

Applications will be accepted until all funds are fully committed. For more information, contact the Maryland Department of Agriculture at 410-841-5864.

Published in Dairy

January 30, 2017, Clive, IA — The Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) is partnering with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) to offer additional cost share dollars to pig farmers installing new nutrient loss reduction technologies.

Through this program, IPPA will provide up to $25,000, throughout the next year, to offset up to 50 percent of costs for pig farmers to install saturated buffers or bioreactors on their farmland. Sites will be selected based on greatest opportunity for nitrate reduction and be geographically dispersed throughout the state to aid in education and demonstration opportunities.

“Bioreactors and saturated buffers are new practices that have been developed to address water quality, so this $25,000 investment will help us install them at sites across the state so we can continue to demonstrate to farmers how they may be able fit on their farm,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. “I greatly appreciate the Iowa Pork Producers Association for making this significant investment. This is another great example of ag groups in Iowa stepping up to help improve water quality.”

Participating producers will be asked to share information and experiences with other farmers through IPPA and IDALS programs.

“We are happy to partner with IDALS to offer this program and technical assistance,” said 2017 IPPA President Curtis Meier, a pig farmer from Clarinda, IA. “While these practices are not specific to pork production, our leaders have recognized the importance of enhancing assistance to install and build awareness of these exciting new edge-of-field technologies.”

Pig farmers interested in the program can submit basic farm information for project consideration at www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3108271/IDALS-EOF-Funding-Application. For more information, contact Tyler Bettin at IPPA at (800) 372-7675 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Matt Lechtenberg at IDALS at (515) 281-3857 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Published in Swine

December 14, 2015 – Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) has presented VXV Farms and the Vandervalk family with the 2016 Environmental Stewardship Award.

Each year, ABP recognizes an operation that demonstrates leadership in environmental stewardship – one that contributes to the land while maintaining productivity and profitability.

Jack Vandervalk moved to southern Alberta in 1956 and has been managing the ranch situated in the Porcupine Hills ever since. Together with his wife Merry and his son Gerald and his family, they run a cow calf operation with retained ownership to slaughter.

“It is my personal desire to make sure the land is better than when I found it. It is a goal of mine to keep trying to make it better. In my opinion, the cow is what we harvest our grass with and the grass harvests the sun,” said Jack.

Rotational grazing and unique water management systems have played roles in the stewardship success of the ranch.

Throughout the summer they rotational graze their tame grass, moving cattle every two or three days to allow for adequate rest periods. The native grass is utilized during the winter months to lower feed costs.“We are privileged to take advantage of flood irrigation.

The landscape that we have allows us to flood our tame grass pastures with minimal costs outside labour,” said Gerald.Numerous dams have been developed which are equipped with water troughs made from recycled mine truck tires. Turning old tires into watering systems has become a secondary business on the ranch. The excess tire materials have been used to build a wind fence to protect the cattle during the colder winter season.

The Vandervalk family is very active in the community working with various landowner and stewardship groups. Through the Lyndon Creek Conservation Group they worked on projects with neighbouring ranches, Cows and Fish has done riparian area work on their site, and Alberta Conservation Association worked with them on rotational grazing and off-stream watering projects.

“We have future generations coming and it’s important to have a place to call home… that they can easily take over and maintain what we’ve started,” said Gerald.

Published in Beef
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