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Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Manure technology event planned in Maria Stein

Workshop will show farmers systems that reduce nutrients, provide extra income

By Nancy Allen
Manure technology can help farmers improve the environment and earn extra income at the same time.
Mercer County OSU Extension educator Jim Hoorman wants farmers to come see this for themselves at a March 8 workshop entitled Manure Technology Workshop: Turning Manure into Cash. The free session is 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Knights of St. John Hall in Maria Stein.
"It's a great opportunity for farmers to hear some things that are up and coming," Hoorman said. "Probably in the next three to five years, we will see some of these things in the watershed. We need to get started."
The main focus of the workshop will be removing phosphorous and nitrogen from manure to sell as a valuable byproduct.
Presentations will be from college academics and private sector individuals about anaerobic manure digestion and methane production, removing phosphorous from dairy and swine manure, turning hog manure into a bioresin that can be made into an asphalt-like material, fertilizer coatings and other traditionally petroleum-based products.
An Ohio farmer working with NuVention, the Ohio company that makes units that turn his hog manure into an asphalt-like material, will be on the panel. NuVention owner Jim Sattler spoke with county hog farmers last year and now has data on the nutrient breakdown from the effluent water produced by the process. The information will be shared during the workshop, Hoorman said.
The workshop will conclude with an hour-long question and answer session on making the technology work.
"What we're trying to do is show the multiple ways to go about using manure, and we're trying to bring some of the most viable options we could find to the table for farmers to look at," Hoorman said.
Hoorman said the county has the most runoff issues with dairy and hog manure, which can be as much as 98 percent liquid. Its high moisture content makes it difficult to handle and expensive to truck out of the watershed. Extracting most of the nutrients from the manure and turning the nutrients into a dry, pelletized fertilizer makes it a value-added product farmers can sell.
Making sure excess nutrients stay out of Grand Lake reached a new level of importance this year.
The state on Jan. 18 designated the lake's watershed distressed, triggering new manure regulations that are now law for the nearly 300 livestock farmers in the 58,000-acre watershed. Phosphorous from manure that runs off nearby farmland is the main pollutant feeding toxic algae blooms in Grand Lake. More than 80 percent of the acreage in the watershed is farmland.
Hoorman said he hopes the workshop will give farmers additional manure management options that can earn them extra income.
"The most important thing we're trying to do is take the nutrients out of manure and trying to sell them as a byproduct that has a value so excess nutrients are not put on land in the Grand Lake Watershed," he said.

How to go:
What: Free Manure Technology Workshop: Turning Manure into Cash
When: March 8, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with free lunch provided
Where: Knights of St. John hall, Maria Stein
More info, RSVP: Call Jim Hoorman, 419-586-2179.
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