2008 Breimyer Seminar

Manure Entrepreneurs: Turning Brown to Green

Posted: June 19, 2008

Seminar Materials

Seminar Description

Entrepreneurs are taking advantage of economic, cultural and environmental changes in the US to transform what was once called a waste into what is now recognized as a resource, something brown into something green. A number of factors make manure an increasingly valuable resource.

According to USDA, average prices in January for major fertilizer nutrients were 130 percent higher in 2008 than in 2000. According to The Fertilizer Institute, increasing demand in China, India, and Brazil is one factor. Other factors include high crop prices (partially fueled by the ethanol industry in the US), higher transportation costs, and increasing reliance on imports of nitrogen and potash coupled with a declining dollar.

Higher energy prices also mean that manure as a source of energy is more viable. There is increasing interest in both directly burning manure, a twist on cowboys’ use of buffalo chips, and capture of methane from anaerobic digestion.

There are also opportunities due to increased interest in environmental issues. Some farmers are receiving carbon credits for capturing methane, a greenhouse gas, from their lagoons. Applying manure at agronomic rates may be difficult for some larger operations so there is an incentive to develop a marketable product from their manure. This was the origin of “Cowpots™вЂќ, bio-degradable planting pots made out of dairy manure.

The seminar is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Charlie Fulhage, a valued colleague and manure expert.

Goal: To improve the environment by showcasing manure entrepreneurs who have made money from a previously wasted resource and to stimulate further innovations.

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