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December 8, 2008
A Penton Media, Inc Publication


  • Manure-Based Cow Power Program Keeps Growing
  • Where Do The Nutrients Go During Anaerobic Digestion?
  • USDA Watershed Information Available Online
  • Regional Conservation Meeting Feb. 18-20
  • 2009 Wisconsin Crop Management Conference Planned
  • Iowa State Offers Extensive Set of Applicator Workshops
  • Illinois to Hold Livestock Manager Training Workshops




      Manure-Based Cow Power Program Keeps Growing
    The Central Vermont Cow Power (CVCP) program, administered by Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS), has been called the nation’s first manure-based, farm-to-consumer energy program. The state’s fifth dairy farm has just joined the CVPS Cow Power herd through cooperation with Vermont Electric Cooperative. A number of Vermont groups and businesses have enrolled in the energy program since it began in 2004.

    CVCP customers, such as the U.S. Forest Service headquarters in Rutland, VT, sign up to receive all, half or a quarter of their electrical energy through Cow Power and agree to pay a premium of $.04/kilowatt hour. The fee goes to participating farm producers, helps purchase renewable energy credits when enough farm energy isn’t available, or is put in the CVPS Renewable Development Fund. That fund also provides grants to farm owners to develop on-farm energy generation. Farm producers are also paid 95% of the market price for all of the energy sold to CVPS.

    Neighborhood Farms in Newport, VT, is the most recent farm to join the Cow Power program. The farm partnership will produce energy with an anaerobic digester and generator installed at the farm site. Neighborhood Farms was started in 1957 by Maurice and Lois Maxwell, who now share ownership with their four sons: Stewart, Bradley, Anthony and Jeffery. Grandson Matthew also works on the farm in a management position. The farm has 850 milking cows.

    “We’re excited to be online and generating a new income stream,” explains Matthew Maxwell. “If not for CVPS Cow Power, we wouldn’t be doing this. The program provides solid financial benefits while helping us make tremendous improvements to our manure management. CVPS Cow Power and the customers who enroll help make projects such as ours a reality.” Matthew, Bradley, Stewart, Jeffery and Anthony recently created a partnership called Neighborhood Energy LLC. Construction of the farm's digester began in March.

    Now’s the Time to incorporate a Slurrystore System into your nutrient management program. Slurrystore is compatible for any system whether your goal is long term storage, nutrient retention, green containment, digesters or manure processing. Plus Slurrystore Systems include the added feature of agitation to help ensure nutrient consistency. Click here or contact your local Authorized Slurrystore Dealer for more information.

      Where Do The Nutrients Go During Anaerobic Digestion?
    The eXtension web site addresses the question about whether or not manure nutrients disappear in an anaerobic digester. “Nutrients in an anaerobic digester do not disappear,” says Patrick Topper, Pennsylvania State University. “The reason some people claim that a digester ‘eats’ nutrients is because some of the nutrients settle out in the sludge and stay in the digester until it is mechanically cleaned out.”

    This process is especially true in Plug Flow digesters. Phosphorus often settles out during the digestion process, for example, thus giving a net reduction in phosphorus. In reality, the phosphorus is being stored in the solids, or sludge, accumulating in the digester. Some of the organic nitrogen may settle and a very small fraction may be lost with the biogas as ammonia, but essentially the nitrogen is not reduced in a digester, according to Topper.

    Learn more in the Pennsylvania State University fact sheet entitled, “The Fate of Nutrients and Pathogens during Anaerobic Digestion of Dairy Manure,” available online as a PDF file at Visit the eXtension site at

      USDA Watershed Information Available Online
    For the first time, information collected over the past 40 years from instruments on large watersheds across the country is available online through an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) web site. The STEWARDS (Sustaining the Earth's Watersheds, Agricultural Research Data System) web site has interactive maps of watersheds. The site allows users to see the topography of the watersheds and the instrument locations, as well as download data.

    Data from watersheds nationwide is organized into a standard format on the site. The site’s creators hoped to make the information available to people involved in the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP), and to expand the usefulness of the information gathered at each watershed for nationwide analyses.

    CEAP began in 2003 as a multi-agency effort to quantify the environmental benefits of conservation practices used by private landowners participating in selected U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) conservation programs. However, the data is also crucial to others doing hydrological analyses, and to the public, especially to people living in these watersheds.

    Information is included about pesticides, nitrogen and phosphorous in streams, rivers, lakes and drinking water reservoirs. The web site also has data on daily stream discharge levels, air and soil temperature and other weather data.

    Visit the ARS STEWARDS site at

    Are you getting optimum value from your ag nutrients? Ensure an even nutrient blend and consistency with every load using a Slurrystore® and its center agitation system. There’s no better choice for long term ag nutrient storage. Now’s the Time for Slurrystore. Click here or contact your local Authorized Slurrystore Dealer for more information.

      Regional Conservation Meeting Feb. 18-20
    A regional technical conference planned around the theme, "Conservation, Sustaining Our Future," will be held Feb. 18-20, 2009 at the Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn in Rapid City, SD. The conference is sponsored by the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) Northern Plains chapters. Join natural resource enthusiasts from Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska and North and South Dakota to hear the latest on soil quality, water quality trading credits, energy and conservation.

    The conference kicks off Feb. 18 with presentations on a variety of energy and conservation topics. The day will conclude with "Dig It," a new Smithsonian Display presentation, given by Gary Peterson, Colorado State University. The program on Feb. 19 will focus on soil and water quality and what that means to landowners and professionals. Concurrent sessions will be held on Feb. 20 covering topics such as: Animal Feeding Operation/Confined Animal Feeding Operation (AFO/CAFO) rule update, Pollinators, Carbon Credit Trading and Using Visual Simulations for Communicating Conservation, just to name a few.

    A total of 17.5 Continuing Education Units are available for certified crop advisors, and a total of 11 Continuing Education Units are available from the Society for Range Management.

    Registration for SWCS members is $90 by Feb. 4, 2009, or $100 for late registration. Registration for non-SWCS members is $100 early/$110 for late registration. Student registration is $25. Registration is due Feb. 4.

    A full agenda and registration form is available by logging onto the North Dakota SWCS web site at, or by contacting any SWCS member within the Northern Plains Region.


      2009 Wisconsin Crop Management Conference Planned

    The 2009 Wisconsin Crop Management Conference, formerly called the Wisconsin Fertilizer, Aglime & Pest Management Conference, will be held at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, WI, Jan. 13-15, 2009. Choose from more than 55 educational presentations over 2.5 days. Presentations will cover fertilizer supply, demand and price outlook, fertilizer management: new economics, new practices, and crop rotation economics, among other topics.

    View a PDF version of the program online at

      Iowa State Offers Extensive Set of Applicator Workshops
    Iowa State University (ISU) will be offering an extensive set of workshops designed for manure applicators during January and February 2009. Confinement site manure applicators are required by law to be certified to handle, transport or apply manure from any confinement facility with more than 500 animal units. The ISU workshops will help applicators meet certification requirements. The focus of this year’s program will include land application rules, separation distances for land application of manure, valuing and selling manure, road and equipment safety and ISU’s new fact sheet on manure management planning.

    A list of dates and locations is available online at

    American Cowman offers timely, production and management strategies that will add efficiency, value and profitability for family farms with up to 100 head of cattle. American Cowman Update e-newsletter delivers timely industry news, practical production and management information and producer profiles Ð all in an effort to help family farms remain viable. American Cowman is brought to you from the editors of BEEF.

      Illinois to Hold Livestock Manager Training Workshops
    Sponsors of the Certified Livestock Manager Training (CLMT) workshops in Illinois are going the extra mile to assist producers in their efforts to comply with the Illinois Livestock Management Facilities Act and other environmental regulations. Workshops will be held in a variety of locations throughout the state from Dec. 10, 2008 through March 9, 2009. The value of manure as a fertilizer will be addressed as one of the topics at this year’s workshops. Other topics will include using manure on forage crops, practical odor control strategies, the latest odor-management research and innovative manure storage and process technologies. Some of the workshops are species-specific, targeting swine or beef/dairy topics.

    Since the Livestock Management Facilities Act was passed in Illinois in May 1996, certification in livestock manure management is required for producers with more than 300 animal units, and must be renewed every three years.

    A workshop brochure outlining specific dates and locations is available online at Contact Randy Fonner for more information at 217-333-2611 or email

    Send Comments & Questions To
    Dale Miller, Editor, National Hog Farmer

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