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Re: E-M:/ Re: More: "what else does one do with manure?"



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Enviro-Mich message from Barbara Jean Madsen <bjmadsen@umich.edu>
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With all this discussion of farm economics, I notice that no one has made
any mention of the massive federal subsidies to agriculture, very few of
which, I suspect, go to organic farming.

	--Barb


On Tue, 1 Oct 2002, Kenneth Vermeulen wrote:

> Lowell, I agree with your basic premise that the use of compost is
> superior to the use of synthetic fertilizers or non-composted manure.
> But surely you must concede that it is also A LOT more expensive.
> Unless consumers are willing to pay for the cost of organic farming
> (which to date, they have not been)  organic farming methods will not
> succeed in the market.
>
> Ken
>
> >>> Lowell Prag <lprag@mail.msen.com> 09/30/02 07:17PM >>>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Enviro-Mich message from Lowell Prag <lprag@mail.msen.com>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> On Mon, 30 Sep 2002, Grant Trigger wrote:
>
> > The fundamental problem with composting is almost no one can make it
> > economical. The City of Windsor does it and Milwaukee - so asking a
> > farmer to add this to his list of none economic burdens needs some
> > perspective - if this was such an easy solution it would be done.
>
> I do not believe it is just a matter of economics.
>
> In Europe, composting both farm waste and municipal waste is very
> common,
> utilizing both windrow composting and anaerobic digesters which
> provide
> both compost and methane.
>
> In the USA, most farmers have been sucked into the myth the
> petro-chemical
> industry has created, for the need to use their chemical fertilizers.
>
> The actual fact is that compost is far superior in building the health
> of
> the soil which is critical for healthy crops. That is the whole basis
> for
> organic farming, without the use of petrol-chemical derived
> fertilizers.
>
> As far as lagoon sludge use instead of composting, that is a knowledge
> problem and not a necessarily a matter of economics. Compost is far
> superior to the spreading of "hot" sludge which is not completely
> broken
> down by the bacteria, as in actual cured compost.
>
> In short, the methods of true organic farming are gaining ground in
> the
> USA and hence, the number of farmers using sound composting practices
> are
> increasing. In fact, Michigan and California have the strictest
> organic
> farm standards in the country but the new FDA organic standards and
> labeling standards will actually undercut these strict state
> standards.
>
> That is not to say, that these strict organic farm methods will
> anytime
> soon, become wide spread on the corporate mega farms, given the
> influence
> of the petro-chemical fertilizer industry and others like Monsanto,
> ADM,
> etc. which are trying to control the world's production of food.
>
> Lowell Prag
>
> > >>> Lowell Prag <lprag@mail.msen.com> 09/30/02 05:03PM >>>
> >
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > Enviro-Mich message from Lowell Prag <lprag@mail.msen.com>
> >
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > > On Mon, 30 Sep 2002, Kenneth Vermeulen wrote:
> > >
> > > > Lowell, I've got several large farming operations that are very
> > > > interested in putting in a digester/methane collection co-gen
> > > > facility.
> > > > Unfortunately, there always seems to be some major obstacle,
> like
> > > > sand
> > > > bedding, or a water discharge permit for the outflow from the
> > solids
> > > > separator, or the volume of manure necessary to make the project
> > > > sustainable vs. the market for the compost.
> >
> > Hello again Ken,
> >
> > As far as the economics of anaerobic digesters for your manure and
> > other
> > organic wastes, you not only have to consider the value of the
> compost
> > produced but also, the value of the methane produced.
> >
> > Depending upon the size of your operation, the methane produced
> could
> > negate your present costs for heat, electricity, and fuel for your
> > vehicles.
> >
> > Any engineer could easily figure out for you, with some basic btu
> > conversions, the amount and value of your projected methane
> > production.
> >
> > In addition, if you produced a surplus of electricity with the
> methane,
> > by
> > federal law, your utility company must buy it from you. In effect,
> > your
> > electric meter would run backwards or in some cases, two meters are
> > installed, one a debit and the other a credit.
> >
> > In short, we waste a huge amount of methane in the USA, by not
> > recovering
> > it from not only farm waste but also, all our other combined organic
> > wastes. Maybe someday it will be a mandated technology when global
> > warming is really taken seriously.
> >
> > As for also marketing the compost produced by the anaerobic
> digesters,
> >
> > if you are not going to use it all for your own soil, see the
> Michigan
> > Recycling Coalition, http://www.michiganrecycles.org/
> >
> > They provide some in depth statistics on the compost market:
> > State of Recycling in Michigan
> > http://www.michiganrecycles.org/a_projects_measure.shtml
> >
> > There is also a less comprehensive list at:
> > Suppliers of Compost Materials for Michigan Residents
> >
> http://www.michigan.gov/mda/1,1607,7-125-1566_2311_2317-8019--,00.html
>
> >
> >
> > For my own gardening needs, I have bought composted cow manure from
> > Lowe's
> > for about $1.20/40 pound bag which is the best price I've seen. I
> did
> > however, stop buying it until the EPA gets the clopyralid herbicide
> > issue
> > resolved, as it can get into the compost by farmers using it on the
> > forage
> > crops.
> >
> > That is one major problem with buying bagged compost, as there is no
> > uniform testing and labeling standards. One would think the
> composting
> > industry would push for truth in labeling to gain consumer's
> > confidence
> > but that hasn't been the case to date.
> >
> > Lowell  Prag
> >
> >
> >
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