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Manure

See what farms are using for nutrient management, from anaerobic digesters and storage to field application and emissions.

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Making brown the new green is the goal of brothers Matthew and Ben Freund of Colebrook, Connecticut, with their successful new invention, CowPots. The biodegradable plant pots are made from manure solids generated from the Freunds’ methane digester, which was built in 1997.

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When it comes to digester technology, lagoon covers, treatment systems and other methods of manure handling, it seems like much of the press lately has been on the ‘big guys’. Now, I am by no means suggesting that larger production facilities are any better in management or production practices. What I am saying is that the media tends to focus on the larger players in agriculture, for good and for bad, depending on the angle they approach.

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How many cows does it take to support an anaerobic digester? The answer: a lot. Large farms have implemented anaerobic digestion (AD) systems in recent years, but little interest has been paid to small- and medium-sized farms until now.

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You know algae. It’s the gunk that collects on the sides of a fish tank when you forget to clean it. It’s the slime that makes you slip on rocks while crossing a stream. You probably think of algae as a nuisance, if you even bother to think of it at all.

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On July 2, 2007, gas in a manure pit claimed the lives of five people on a Virginia farm. The victims included a 34-year-old farmer who climbed down into the pit to unclog a pipe and was overcome by manure gas.

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