Thursday, April 24 2014 3:47 PM EDT2014-04-24 19:47:30 GMT
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The Village of Ottawa is
using a state grant of $100,000 to figure out how to turn hundreds of thousands
of pounds of cow manure into Class A sludge, or fertilizer.
Dairy farmers in the area
say this will be a huge help.
"It just gives us another
option on when we can apply our manure or fertilizer onto our fields," said
Dennis Rieman, dairy manager at Van Ham Farm.
The feasibility study will
analyze how cost-effective it is to take manure from dairy farms and process it
at the village sewage facility. It will determine if they can make the liquid
product into a more dry fertilizer. Once treated, the product is called sludge.
"Basically, reduce the
amount of volume of the product and make it something more beneficial to
fields," said Jason Phillips, the Ottawa Assistant Municipal Director.
Van Ham Dairy Farm is
supplying the manure for the study. They have 2,200 cows that produce about 100
pounds of manure every day.
Currently the manure is
mixed with water and sits in one of their three lagoons until it can be used as
fertilizer. The problem is it can only be applied to dry land. If the manure
was in a dry form, it could be put to better use.
"We want to put it back on
our fields to grow our crops, but it's nice to have that option that we can
turn it into another drier product so it can be applied," Rieman said. "Homeowners
can take it and put it in their garden, put it in their grass."
And according to Phillips,
the process would better benefit the crops grown, as well.
"It will allow for a more
slow release of the product out on the fields, so farmers can get better
benefit from the nutrients that are in the cake product," he said.
Ottawa students will learn
about the testing and even help with studies later this year.