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Thursday, March 3rd, 2011
By Nancy Allen
Local farmers wanted for manure technology workshop
  Organizers hope more local farmers will register for a manure technology workshop in Maria Stein next week.
"We've only got about 86 people signed up, and only about 30 are farmers from the Grand Lake Watershed, and we have room for about 200," organizer Jim Hoorman, Mercer County OSU Extension educator, said. "We've got people coming from all over and that's OK, but we want our local producers to come."
Entitled Manure Technology Workshop: Turning Manure into Cash, the event will focus on technology that removes phosphorous and nitrogen from manure to sell as a valuable byproduct.
The free event is 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Knights of Columbus hall.
Hoorman said the workshop has generated a lot of interest from people far away. A woman from Colorado called and plans to attend, he said. Exhibitors from Wisconsin who heard about it also are coming to promote their products, he said.
Hoorman said he wants farmers to attend so they can learn about technology that can help them improve the environment and earn extra income at the same time.
Presentations will be from college academics and private sector individuals about anaerobic manure digestion and methane production, removing phosphorous from dairy and swine manure and turning hog manure into a bioresin that can be made into an asphalt-like material, fertilizer coatings and other traditionally petroleum-based products.
The workshop will conclude with an hour-long question and answer session.
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, which triggered 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 urged people to RSVP to the manure technology workshop even if they "think they might come" so organizers don't run out of food. A free lunch will be provided, based on the number of people who register.
Contact Hoorman at 419-586-2179. The last day to sign up is Monday.
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