Carbon Markets for Livestock Operations: Manure Treatment and Handling

The first in a series of 3 webinars, this presentation introduces the fundamentals of carbon emissions, as well as technologies, practices and market opportunities available to agricultural producers are critical to that transition on the livestock operation. This presentation was originally broadcast on November 18, 2022. Continue reading “Carbon Markets for Livestock Operations: Manure Treatment and Handling”

Promoting Manure Composting for Livestock Operations

Purpose

While both raw and composted manure benefit soil health and crop production, there are benefits to creating and land-applying composted manure over raw manure. Product uniformity, volume, weed seed, pathogen and parasite reduction and nutrient stability are just a few of the benefits. However, composting manure in Minnesota and North Dakota have yet to gain popularity.

A group of compost producers, who ultimately became our producer cooperators and partnered with us for workshops, were consulted on the reason composting manure is not more common. One said, “It is lack of understanding and time management that holds most other farmers back from composting manure; they do not know how much composting can help their operation.” Another mentioned, “When I started researching composting for my farm, I took a three-day class in Illinois because there wasn’t anything available in North Dakota or Minnesota. Most farmers are not willing to travel that far. There is a need for composting education programs in the two-state area.”

What Did We Do?

NDSU Extension partnered with the University of Minnesota Extension with the original plan of holding four workshops in two years (two each in ND and MN). When implications from the COVID-19 pandemic ensued, we changed our plans to host an online workshop in 2020 and were able to continue with two in-person workshops in 2021.

The online workshop consisted of 13 videos that were sent to registrants 2 weeks before an online, live discussion was held in August 2020 with the presentation team as well as 3 producer cooperators. One of the videos consisted of on-farm interviews with each of our producer cooperators to show the registrants the ability to manage compost differently with similar results. The videos are still available and have been viewed collectively 1,845 times.

The in-person workshops were held in July and August of 2021. Each workshop covered the same material as the online workshop and all three producer cooperators attended each event. The producer cooperators were responsible for helping attendees with the compost diagnostics activity as well as answering questions during a panel discussion.

What Have We Learned?

Online Workshop

    • 180 people registered for the online workshop and 50 joined the live discussion with presenters and producer cooperators
    • 43 responded to the immediate follow-up survey where
      • 76% thought the self-paced format was excellent
      • 64% thought the amount of material was excellent
      • 62% thought the topics covered were excellent
    • 15 months after the online workshop, 21 people participated in a follow-up survey and as a result of the workshop, 58% reported they had altered their manure composting practices.
    • When asked what manure composting change(s) they made, 58% reported they improved their operations adding,
      • “I have more confidence in my ability to compost successfully and have a better understanding of the environmental impacts of composting.”
      • “I no longer have to pay someone to haul away our waste”
      • “Although not composting on a commercial level, I manage several community gardens where large volumes of biomass are accumulated. After learning additional techniques, my piles were hotter and decomposed more quickly. The key? More moisture!”

Moving the workshop online for the first year allowed us to fully engage our producer cooperators. The online workshop resulted in participant comments such as,

    • “Well organized and executed. Appreciated that videos were individual by topic area, short, and focused. That allowed me to watch what was relevant and fit it into my day more easily.”
    • “Really enjoyed the discussion and interaction between the three cooperators. Also appreciated having enough time to flesh out the information, i.e., didn’t try to squeeze it into one hour.”

Though an in-person meeting would have allowed more hands-on experience, the online version reached a broader audience with attendees from 31 states and 3 countries.

In-person Workshops

    • 31 people attended the in-person workshops in ND and MN, of which 10 participated in a 4-month follow-up survey
      • 67% of those who made changes as a result of the workshop stated they started composting manure
    • 100% of those who did not make changes were either agency or university Extension/research personnel who reported the workshops impacted them, their work, and/or their relationship with their clients by:
      • “Allowing me to be more educated about manure composting so that when producers inquire about composting I am able to give them accurate information.”
      • “Using workshop information to inform clients of another manure handling method to consider; composting.”

The workshops, both online and in-person, facilitated discussion and mutual learning among experienced and novice composters of livestock manure.

Future Plans

Questions about static composting were asked during both the online and in-person workshops. This practice is not common in North Dakota or Minnesota so there is certainly a future learning and workshop opportunity.

Authors

Mary A. Keena, Extension Specialist, North Dakota State University

Corresponding author email address

mary.keena@ndsu.edu

Additional authors

Chryseis Modderman, Extension Educator, University of Minnesota; Melissa L. Wilson, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, University of Minnesota; William J. Gale, Extension Agent, North Dakota State University

Additional Information

    1. Online Composting Workshop Videos YouTube playlist: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnn8HanJ32l6uhwdS9m-G1z8Bq1U0aJzF
    1. Two compost-related publications for producers were created for use while at the compost rows:

Acknowledgements

This project was funded by North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NC-SARE).

 

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2022. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth. Oregon, OH. April 18-22, 2022. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Trends in Manure Sample Data

Purpose

Most manure book values used today from the MidWest Plan Service (MWPS) and American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) were derived from manure samples prior to 2003. To update these manure test values, the University of Minnesota in partnership with the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute, is working to build a dynamic manure test database called ManureDB. During this database construction, the University of Minnesota collected manure data spanning the last decade from five labs across the country. Trends, similarities, and challenges arose when comparing these samples. Having current manure test numbers will assist in more accurate nutrient management planning, manure storage design, manure land application, and serve agricultural modeling purposes.

What Did We Do?

We recruited five laboratories for this preliminary study who shared some of their manure sample data between 2012-2021, which represented over 100,000 manure samples. We looked at what species, manure types (liquid/solid), labels, and units we had to work with between the datasets to make them comparable. Once all the samples were converted into either pounds of nutrient/ton for solid manure or pounds of nutrient/1000 gallons for liquid manure, we took the medians of total nitrogen, ammonium-nitrogen (NH4-N), phosphate (P2O5), and potassium oxide (K2O) analyses from those samples and compared them to the MWPS and ASABE manure nutrient values.

What Have We Learned?

There is no standardization of laboratory submission forms for manure samples. The majority of samples have minimal descriptions beyond species of animal and little is known about storage types. With that said, we can still detect some general NPK trends for the beef, dairy, swine, poultry manure collected from the five laboratories in the last decade, compared to the published book values. For liquid manure, the K2O levels generally increased in both the swine and poultry liquid manure samples. For the solid swine manure and solid beef manure, total N, P2O5, and K2O levels all increased compared to the published book values. The solid dairy manure increased in P2O5 and K2O levels, and the solid poultry manure increased in total N and K2O. See Figure 1 for the general trends in liquid and solid manure for swine, dairy, beef, and poultry.

Table 1. Manure sample trends 2012-2021 compared to MWPS/ASABE manure book values. (+) = trending higher, (o) = no change/conflicting samples, (-) = trending lower

Liquid Total N NH4N P2O5 K2O
Swine o o +
Dairy o o
Beef o o o o
Poultry o + +
Solid Total N NH4N P2O5 K2O
Swine + o + +
Dairy o o + +
Beef + + +
Poultry + o o +

Future Plans

The initial data gives us a framework to standardize fields for the future incoming samples (location, manure type, agitation, species, bedding, storage type, and analytical method) along with creating a unit conversion mechanism for data uploads. We plan to recruit more laboratories to participate in the ManureDB project and acquire more sample datasets. We will compare and analyze this data as it becomes available, especially more detailed data for each species. We will be designing ManureDB with statistical and data visualization features for future public use.

Authors

Nancy L. Bohl Bormann, Graduate Research Assistant, University of Minnesota

Corresponding author email address

bohlb001@umn.edu

Additional authors

Melissa L. Wilson, Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota

Erin L. Cortus, Associate Professor and Extension Engineer, University of Minnesota

Kevin Janni, Extension Engineer, University of Minnesota

Larry Gunderson, Pesticide & Fertilizer Management, Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Tom Prather, Senior Software Developer, University of Minnesota

Kevin Silverstein, Scientific Lead RIS Informatics Analyst, University of Minnesota

Additional Information

ManureDB website: http://manuredb.umn.edu/ (coming soon!)

Twitter: @ManureProf, @nlbb

Lab websites:

https://wilsonlab.cfans.umn.edu/

https://bbe.umn.edu/people/erin-cortus

Acknowledgements

This work is supported by the AFRI Foundational and Applied Science Program [grant no. 2020-67021-32465] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, and the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute.

 

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2022. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth. Oregon, OH. April 18-22, 2022. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Overview of ODA’s Division of Livestock Environmental Permitting

Purpose

The purpose of this presentation is to provide a complete overview of ODA’s Division of Livestock Environmental Permitting (“ODA-DLEP”). ODA-DLEP regulates any livestock facility in Ohio that has the following number of animals or greater:

    • 700 mature dairy cows
    • 1,000 beef cattle or dairy heifers
    • 2,500 swine weighing more than 55 pounds
    • 10,000 swine weighing less than 55 pounds
    • 82,000 layers
    • 125,000 broilers or pullets
    • 500 horses
    • 55,000 turkeys

What Did We Do

Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Division of Livestock Environmental Permitting (“ODA-DLEP”) regulates the siting, construction, and operation of Ohio’s largest livestock facilities, referred to as Concentrated Animal Feeding Facilities (“CAFF”). ODA-DLEP’s primary objective is to minimize any water quality impacts, including both surface and ground waters, associated with the construction of new or expanding CAFFs, as well as implementation of best management practices once a CAFF becomes operational. These best management practices include management of manure, insect and rodent control, mortality management, and emergency response practices. ODA-DLEP issues Permits to Install (for construction) and Permits to Operate (for operations).

In addition, ODA-DLEP conducts routine inspections of each CAFF at least once a year, responds to complaints, and participates in emergency response. Inspections are conducted to review a CAFF’s compliance with Ohio Revised Code 903 and Ohio Administrative Code 901:10, the laws and regulations governing Concentrated Animal Feeding Facilities.

Finally, ODA-DLEP administers the Certified Livestock Manager program. Any individual in the State of Ohio that manages 4,500 dry tons of solid manure or 25 million gallons of liquid manure is required to be a Certified Livestock Manager (“CLM”).

What Have We Learned

Livestock operations continue to get larger and more concentrated and as a result, regulations are necessary to ensure proper handling and management of manure, particularly with land application of manure.

Future Plans

Over the past several years, DLEP has started to see more interest in manure treatment technologies. This could include, but is not limited to, anaerobic digestion, nutrient recovery, solids separation, and wastewater treatment. Technologies like this could greatly alter the landscape of the livestock industry by fundamentally changing the way manure is handled and how nutrients from manure are applied. DLEP does have regulations in place to account for manure treatment technologies. However, regulations, and specifically changes to regulations, cannot maintain the same pace as these technological advancements.

Authors

Samuel Mullins, Chief of ODA-Division Livestock Environmental Permitting
Samuel.mullins@agri.ohio.gov

Additional Information

https://agri.ohio.gov/divisions/livestock-environmental-permitting
https://codes.ohio.gov/ohio-administrative-code/901:10
https://codes.ohio.gov/ohio-revised-code/chapter-903

Videos, Slideshows and Other Media

ODA Division Spotlights – Division of Livestock Environmental Permitting 1

ODA Division Spotlights – Division of Livestock Environmental Permitting 2

 

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2022. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth. Oregon, OH. April 18-22, 2022. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Addressing Antimicrobial Resistance Through Livestock Management

In this webinar, representatives from multiple sectors of the livestock production industry are featured to learn how each sector is approaching the complex problem of antibiotic resistance with management strategies to improve antimicrobial stewardship in live animal production and across the food production system. This presentation was originally broadcast on August 20, 2021. Continue reading “Addressing Antimicrobial Resistance Through Livestock Management”

The Use of USDA-NRCS Conservation Innovation Grants to Advance Air Quality Improvements

USDA-NRCS has nearly fifteen years of Conservation Innovation Grant project experience, and several of these projects have provided a means to learn more about various techniques for addressing air emissions from animal agriculture.  The overall goal of the Conservation Innovation Grant program is to provide an avenue for the on-farm demonstration of tools and technologies that have shown promise in a research setting and to further determine the parameters that may enable these promising tools and technologies to be implemented on-farm through USDA-NRCS conservation programs.

What Did We Do?

Several queries for both National Competition and State Competition projects in the USDA-NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant Project Search Tool (https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/ciglanding/national/programs/financial/cig/cigsearch/) were conducted using the General Text Search feature for keywords such as “air”, “ammonia”, “animal”, “beef”, “carbon”, “dairy”, “digester”, “digestion”, “livestock”, “manure”, “poultry”, and “swine” in order to try and capture all of the animal air quality-related Conservation Innovation Grant projects.  This approach obviously identified many projects that might be related to one or more of the search words, but were not directly related to animal air quality. Further manual review of the identified projects was conducted to identify those that specifically had some association with animal air quality.

What Have We Learned?

Out of nearly 1,300 total Conservation Innovation Grant projects, just under 50 were identified as having a direct relevance to animal air quality in some way.  These projects represent a USDA-NRCS investment of just under $20 million. Because each project required at least a 50% match by the grantee, the USDA-NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant program has represented a total investment of approximately $40 million over the past 15 years in demonstrating tools and technologies for addressing air emissions from animal agriculture.

The technologies that have been attempted to be demonstrated in the animal air quality-related Conservation Innovation Grant projects have included various feed management strategies, approaches for reducing emissions from animal pens and housing, and an approach to mortality management.  However, the vast majority of animal air quality-related Conservation Innovation Grant projects have focused on air emissions from manure management – primarily looking at anaerobic digestion technologies – and land application of manure. Two projects also developed and enhanced an online tool for assessing livestock and poultry operations for opportunities to address various air emissions.

Future Plans

The 2018 Farm Bill re-authorized the Conservation Innovation Grant Program through 2023 at $25 million per year and allows for on-farm conservation innovation trials.  It is anticipated that additional air quality projects will be funded under the current Farm Bill authorization.

Authors

Greg Zwicke, Air Quality Engineer, USDA-NRCS National Air Quality and Atmospheric Change Technology Development Team

greg.zwicke@ftc.usda.gov

Additional Information

More information about the USDA-NRCS Conservation Innovation Grants program is available on the Conservation Innovation Grants website (https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/cig/), including application information and materials, resources for grantees, success stories, and a project search tool.

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2019. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth. Minneapolis, MN. April 22-26, 2019. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Quantitative Analysis of Words in Popular Press Articles about Livestock and Environment

Livestock farming practices and technologies, like many aspects of agriculture and industry, continue to evolve. As technology and attitudes change regarding livestock farming, public response changes as well; this is reflected in the way that people talk and write about the subject. This change and growth is a common topic  of both public and technical debate and scrutiny. Databases on the internet collect public articles and documents related to livestock farming dating back to the early 1980’s. The information in these articles can be evaluated using a number of computer science based approaches. These data can help to highlight how significant past events and their impacts were perceived, and possibly predict  how future trends within the industry will be described in popular press/media.

What Did We Do?

We gathered popular press articles from an online database, Factiva, with the search terms “livestock and odor,” from the year 2000 to the present. A computer program developed using machine learning processes: (1) cleans and structures the individual articles into text files; and (2) quantifies the importance and frequency of words in individual and groups of articles, by year. The program assigns two measures of importance to each word. Words that frequently occur in many articles per year provide broad overarching ideas and subjects. Words that are deemed important to each  individual article provide more nuanced data including companies, people, and equipment discussed in livestock farming. To demonstrate the results, this data is visualized in tables and graphs to show patterns in subjects as they develop and change over time.

What Have We Learned?

This analysis method gives us a quantitative basis for reviewing the change in importance of words over time. All analysis after choosing the subject and search terms is done by a computer program, protecting the outcomes from reader bias. Changes in word importance or frequency can be supported with numerical data and easily visualized from year to year. The different approaches also allow for inferences between long-term subjects and ideas (Table 1), and shorter term players in the industry (Table 2).

This analysis method does not pull out the context that any of the words are used. Manure and waste are two means of describing the same material, with different connotations. Manure and waste appeared at similar frequencies in many, but not all years. Dairy was more prominent in 2011 and 2013, but hogs (or synonyms) appeared in most years. Refinements to the article search protocol could limit the articles to those of opinion (i.e. editorials) or regional perspectives. There are opportunities for this method to inform historical reviews of livestock and the environment, and inform future communication efforts.

Future Plans

There are a number of opportunities to extend this project in the future. One would be to experiment with different search terms and databases to see how outcomes depend on the data source. Another opportunity would be to apply the quantitative method to other applications. The computer program could be applied to any database and so the method has utility to topics other than livestock farming.

Authors

Ryan Felton, Undergraduate Research Assistant, University of Minnesota

Erin Cortus, Assistant Professor and Extension Engineer, University of Minnesota

ecortus@umn.edu

Additional Information

Project support provided by the University of Minnesota UROP program.

Table 1. The top twenty words by year that most frequently appeared in a popular press article database search based on the keywords “livestock and odor”, by year. The relative frequency of some livestock types (cattle, hog, dairy) and manure-related words (manure, waste) are highlighted.

 

Table 2. The top twenty words by year that were the important focus of articles in a popular press article database search based on the keywords “livestock and odor”.
Table 2. The top twenty words by year that were the important focus of articles in a popular press article database search based on the keywords “livestock and odor”.

 

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2019. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth. Minneapolis, MN. April 22-26, 2019. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

 

USDA-NRCS and the National Air Quality Site Assessment Tool (NAQSAT) for Livestock and Poultry Operations

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Purpose

The National Air Quality Site Assessment Tool (NAQSAT) was developed as a first-of-its-kind tool to help producers and their advisors assess the impact of management on air emissions from livestock and poultry operations and identify areas for potential improvement related to those air emissions.

What did we do?

In 2007, several land-grant universities, with leadership from Michigan State University, began developing NAQSAT under a USDA-NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG). The initial tool included beef, dairy, swine, and poultry operations. A subsequent CIG project, with leadership from Colorado State University, made several enhancements to the tool, including adding horses to the species list. In 2015, USDA-NRCS officially adopted NAQSAT as an approved tool for evaluating air quality resource concerns at livestock and poultry operations. USDA-NRCS also contracted with Florida A&M University in 2015 to provide several regional training workshops on NAQSAT to NRCS employees. Six training workshops have been completed to date (Raleigh, NC; Modesto, CA; Elizabethtown, PA; Lincoln, NE; Richmond, VA; and Yakima, WA) with assistance from multiple NAQSAT development partners. Additionally, USDA-NRCS revised its comprehensive nutrient management plan (CNMP) policy in October 2015 to make the evaluation of air quality resource concerns mandatory as part of CNMP development.

Snippet from website of the National Air Quality Site Assessment Tool

Group photo of team in field

Zwicke in class lecturing

Zwicke and group in animal housing facility

What have we learned?

NAQSAT has proven to be a useful tool for bench-marking the air emissions impacts of current management on confinement-based livestock and poultry operations. In the training sessions, students have been able to complete NAQSAT runs on-site with the producer or producer representative via tablet or smartphone technologies. Further classroom discussion has helped to better understand the questions and answers and how the NAQSAT results can feed into the USDA-NRCS conservation planning process. Several needed enhancements and upgrades to the tool have been identified in order to more closely align the output of the tool to USDA-NRCS conservation planning needs. NAQSAT has also proven to be useful for evaluating the air quality resource concern status of an operation in relation to the CNMP development process.

Future Plans

It is anticipated that the identified needed enhancements and upgrades will be completed as funding for further NAQSAT development becomes available. Additionally, as use of NAQSAT by USDA-NRCS and our conservation planning and CNMP development partners expands, additional training and experience-building opportunities will be needed. The NAQSAT development team has great geographic coverage to assist in these additional opportunities.

Corresponding author, title, and affiliation

Greg Zwicke, Air Quality Engineer – Air Quality and Atmospheric Change Team, USDA-NRCS

Corresponding author email

greg.zwicke@ftc.usda.gov

Other authors

Greg Johnson, Air Quality and Atmospheric Change Team Leader, USDA-NRCS; Jeff Porter, Animal Nutrient and Manure Management Team Leader, USDA-NRCS; Sandy Means, Agricultural Engineer – Animal Nutrient and Manure Management Team, USDA-NRCS

Additional information

naqsat.tamu.edu

https://lpelc.org/naqsat-for-swine-and-poultry

https://lpelc.org/naqsat-for-beef-and-dairy/

Acknowledgements

C.E. Meadows Endowment, Michigan State University

Colorado Livestock Association

Colorado State University

Florida A&M University

Iowa Turkey Federation

Iowa Pork Producers

Iowa Pork Industry Center

Iowa State University

Iowa State University Experiment Station

Kansas State University

Michigan Milk Producers Association

Michigan Pork Producers Association

Michigan State University

Michigan State University Extension

National Pork Board

Nebraska Environmental Trust

Oregon State University

Penn State University

Purdue University

Texas A&M University

University of California, Davis

University of Georgia

University of Georgia Department of Poultry Science

University of Idaho

University of Maryland

University of Maryland Department of Animal and Avian Sciences

University of Minnesota

University of Missouri

University of Nebraska

USDA-ARS

Virginia Tech University

Washington State University

Western United Dairymen

Whatcom County (WA) Conservation District

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2017. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Cary, NC. April 18-21, 2017. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.