Chairman Ron Heuer addresses water quality issues in Kewaunee in new blog post

Ron Heuer just published a new blog post about water quality in Kewaunee county and called out Digested Organic’s Integrated Manure Management System as one of the tools farms can use to process manure on-site and help reduce damage to ground water resources.

 

 

“Sheboygan dairy invests in new technology to deal with manure” on www.Wisbusiness.com

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Read about our first commercial installation of the Integrated Manure Management System™ at Majestic Crossing here or cut and paste this link into your browser window: http://bizopinion.wisbusiness.com/2015/09/marybeth-matzek-sheboygan-dairy-invests.html

 

Press Release: Groundbreaking at Majestic Meadows Dairy in Sheboygan, WI

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Digested Organics Announces Construction of Integrated Manure Management System in WI

ANN ARBOR, MI. July 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Digested Organics LLC has begun construction on its first fully Integrated Manure Management System (IMMS™) at the Majestic Meadows Dairy in Sheboygan Falls, WI. The IMMS will process 20,000 gallons of manure per day, effectively harvesting energy through biogas generation, concentrating nutrients for more targeted crop use, and reclaiming clean water for farm use and surface water discharge.

Digested Organic’s IMMS is a fully integrated and scalable manure treatment system – combining a high efficiency/low residence time anaerobic digester with a highly automated ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis system that concentrates nutrients into 30% of the original manure volume while recovering about 70% of the original volume as clean water suitable for drinking water for the animals, washing and flushing on the farm, or direct discharge to local waterways (with the appropriate DNR permit). Unlike most other solutions available today, the IMMS does not use polymers and chemical flocculants to remove solids from manure; instead, it relies on a patented ultrafiltration system that can reliably remove >99% of the suspended solids and phosphorus. The concentrated nutrients can also be dried or pelletized for easy storage or transport out of the watershed.

“We have been actively working with dairy farmers, county officials, regulators and other Wisconsin stakeholders that have been leading the manure management debate across the State,” said Chris Maloney, Digested Organic’s Chief Operating Officer. “The dairy industry has been looking for commercially proven, operationally robust and cost competitive solutions to manage their manure for years,” Maloney said. “We believe we have an integrated solution that will deliver these key attributes and provide important operational flexibility that will enhance the farm’s overall operation in an environmentally sustainable way.”

“We had been looking at manure treatment systems for years, but we just couldn’t get comfortable with either the technology or the costs involved,” said Dean Strauss, Managing Partner and co-owner of the Majestic Meadows Dairy. Digested Organic’s solution is the right fit for our farm, allowing us to concentrate key nutrients for our crops into substantially less volume at a competitive operating cost – that means getting manure trucks off the road and reduced hauling costs. We also like the fact that it’s highly automated, has a small footprint and is environmentally sustainable – something that is important to us and to our community”.

With over two-dozen projects proposed across Wisconsin, Vermont and Michigan, the project at Majestic Meadows is Digested Organic’s first fully integrated commercial facility.  The IMMS is expected to be operational by the end of September, just ahead of the World Dairy Expo in Madison. CG Solutions, based in Milwaukee, is serving as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor. The facility will be owned and operated by Majestic Meadows Dairy.

About Digested Organics | 
Headquartered in Ann Arbor, MI., Digested Organics LLC is a privately held technology solutions company specializing in organic waste treatment and processing including livestock and food waste, municipal sludge’s and FOG’s. More information is available at www.digestedorganics.com.

Digested Organics contact: Robert Levine, CEO

Office: 844-9-DIGEST (844-934-4378)

Come see Digested Organics at WI Farm Tech Days!

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Please come learn about what Digested Organics has to offer at the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days!  This popular event will be held at the Statz Bros. Farm in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin on August 25-27.  You can find us at Tent B – Booth 131.

Kewaunee Chairman Ron Heuer Responds to Groundwater Issues

Ron_HeuerRead Chairman Ron Heuer’s latest update on Kewaunee County, including a detailed respond to recent reporting on groundwater issues and CAFOs.

Digested Organics Featured in Kewaunee County Star-News

Read the full story by Karen Yancey: “Digested Organics: manure for power, water, fertilizer

 

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Digested Organics responds to recent Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP) report about CAFOs in Kewaunee, WI

Response to the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project Report on Dairies in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin

By: Robert B. Levine, Ph.D. and Christopher D. Maloney | Digested Organics, LLC

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As a manure management technology provider that works with both CAFOs and smaller farms in Wisconsin on a daily basis, we believe it is important to provide an independent response to the recently published SRAP report “The Rap Sheets: Industrial Dairies in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin The Regulatory Failure of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: A Threat to Public Health and the Environment” to:

  • Correct several critical errors that continue to be repeated in the media;
  • Refute the notion that these CAFO’s are willfully and negligently mismanaging their manure operations; and
  • To focus on how appropriate on-farm manure treatment can help mitigate the environmental impacts of current manure management practices.

We agree that groundwater contamination is a serious issue in Kewaunee County, especially considering the geological Karst structure throughout the region.[1]  It is not factual, however, to state that “As of June 2013, 30.85 percent of tested drinking water wells county-wide contained nitrates and/or dangerous E. coli bacteria at levels deemed unsafe for human consumption by state and federal authorities”(pg. 7).  We believe the authors are referencing a Kewaunee County Land & Water Conservation Department (LWCD) report to the County Board that summarized data on 483 well samples analyzed between August 2004 and June 2013.[2]

This was a voluntary testing program, whose stated goal is “to introduce private rural well owners to the importance of regular, periodic well testing” and does not represent a random sample of the estimated 4,600 wells in Kewaunee.  If we consider these to be the most up to date data, then it is accurate to say that 149 well samples, or 3.2% of all wells in the county and 30.8% of all samples tested, have been found at one point in the last 10 years to contain unsafe levels of E. coli bacteria and/or an elevated concentration of nitrate.

The severity of the issue notwithstanding, the report is wrong to focus exclusively on CAFOs as the source of the problem. Kewaunee has roughly 42,000 cows plus young-stock generating 550 million gallons of manure each year. And while the CAFOs maintain a large percentage of the herd, there are still 148 non-CAFO dairies in the county that store and spread manure. The authors of the SRAP report would have us believe that CAFOs intentionally and negligently contaminate groundwater, but after working closely with dairymen across the county and the State, we can confidently say that nothing could be further from the truth. CAFOs we talk with are actively investigating and/or pursuing on-farm manure treatment technologies that can rationally and cost competitively address the issue. We have yet to meet even one that doesn’t want to be a responsible environmental steward of the land and doesn’t take the issue of groundwater contamination seriously.

The authors suggest the best path forward is to get rid of CAFOs or at least “slow the rapid expansion and concentration of CAFOs in Wisconsin.”  This continues to be the now tired mantra of the Kewaunee CARES group and their affiliates and continues to ignore the fact that their stated goal would eliminate hundreds of jobs across this State’s largest industry as well as millions of dollars of rental income for local land owners.  We need more efficient dairy farms, not less, to meet the growing demand for food and Kewaunee’s CAFOs are some of our nation’s most productive.  We believe, as do most CAFOs, that growth in the dairy industry should not come at the expense of the environment. However, it is well understood that because of the unique Karst geography in this region and the seasonal pattern of heavy rainfalls, any sized dairy following even today’s best management practices would still likely at some point contribute to groundwater contamination.

Of course, the DNR could further tighten regulations on spreading, increase the number of inspections, add more fines and penalties for spills, etc., but all this would still barely move the dial on the groundwater issue. We believe it is time to have a more rational discussion on how we can help the dairy industry’s largest producers not only stay in business but grow, enabling even more jobs and more tax revenue for hurting counties like Kewaunee. It is time to get serious about adopting onsite manure treatment technologies that can start to address the challenge at its source—the farm.

Digested Organics is one of several technology companies working to provide manure management solutions to the dairy industry in Wisconsin. Backed by industry leading performance guarantees, our fully integrated solution recovers energy from manure, producing on-farm heat and power while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and reclaims clean, reusable water free of nitrates and bacteria.  Our Nutrient Capture and Water Reclamation (NCWR™) system is suitable for the largest of CAFOs down to the smaller dairies and can turn 1,000 gallons of manure or digestate into 700 gallons of clean water and 300 gallons of concentrated liquid fertilizer.  A farmer using the NCWR™ system can reuse the water in his barn for flushing or washing, drinking water for the animals, or it can be discharged into a nearby waterway with the appropriate DNR permit.  This equates to a 70% reduction in the number of manure truck trips on County roads.

The concentrated fertilizer produced in our process undergoes a significant reduction in pathogens or 100% of the pathogens can be removed by installing a final pasteurization process. It can then be applied at the right time throughout the growing season and at lower doses than raw manure when the plant needs it most – increasing plant uptake, reducing runoff and groundwater contamination, and improving yields.  In sensitive areas, farmers can also dry the concentrated fertilizer, creating an exportable solid product worth up to $115/ton.

Our manure treatment technology is fully automated and cost competitive with any other system available today. It represents a solid investment for the future and for farmers looking to reduce their operating costs, gain efficiencies in their business, and reduce the environmental impact of their manure management operation.

Finally, we believe that Kewaunee, which has experienced more growth in their dairy industry than any other county in the State since 1983, has an opportunity to focus its collective energies around this important issue to help solve the actual problem, promote sustainable growth, and show strong leadership in the State. County Chairman Heuer and members of the board have already taken the first step by laying out a pro-business vision to solve the problem. We encourage all the stakeholders in Kewaunee County, including the authors of this SRAP report, to stop looking for someone to blame and force out of business and start working inclusively with County leadership, dairymen and others in the State trying to proactively solve this issue. It won’t happen overnight but it is possible to start today.

 

CEO Bobby Levine speaks at Telluride Lecture Series on Green Business

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Bobby spoke at the annual Telluride Lecture series on Green Business on Saturday, April 13th.  The invited panel spoke about what it means to be “green”, how to practice “triple bottom line” accounting, and why it matters more than ever to do more with less.

For more information on the Telluride Association at the University of Michigan, check out their website: http://www.telluride-house.com/

Don Heilman speaks on The Farm Report

Don Heilman spoke recently on The Farm Report radio about how Digested Organics is working throughout Wisconsin to bring innovative energy, nutrient, and water management solutions to dairy farms.  Check out the clip here: