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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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anaerobic digestion

Ag Gains as Company Transforms 2 Million Tons of Organic Waste to 29 Million Bags of Soil

March 4, 2013 |

Anaerobic digesters at Harvest Power’s Energy Garden in Bay Lake, Florida. Photo Credit: Harvest Power.

Harvest Power is about dirt. It’s also about soil regeneration and managing the modern day intersection of waste, agriculture and energy, so that ongoing human consumption can be used as the engine to drive ongoing renewable energy.

In three and a half years, CEO Paul Sellew has created a company that diverts more than two million tons of organic waste material from landfills and turns it into some 29 million bags of soil, mulch and fertilizer products while producing 65,000 megawatt hours of heat and power-generating energy to run its facilities.

Harvest Power operates in 30 sites across the U.S. and Canada, using strategic partnerships with municipalities, haulers and state-of-the-art anaerobic digesters to create high value compost that is in turn used to create more high nutrition food that can be later be recycled into the system starting the whole process over again. Read More

Gills Onions Taps Sustainable Methods to Bring Tears of Profitable Joy

January 14, 2013 |

Steven Gill, co-owner of Gills Onions in the field. Photo Credit: Gills Onions.

It’s enough to make you cry. Gills Onions is one of the largest family-owned onion farming operations in the nation. But the Oxnard-based facility doesn’t just grow the tears-provoking vegetable. They control every aspect of production from growing, harvesting, processing, packing and shipping the bulbs in handy, diced up packages to retailers, food service outlets and industrial manufacturers throughout the nation and Canada. And they do so using some surprising sustainable production practices that have lowered their operating costs over a million dollars a year.

Allen Gill had been farming in California’s Central Valley since the 1940s when he brought sons Steven and David into his Rio Farms business. Read More

Green Waste Recycler Finds Profit in Organic Compost and Big Picture Thinking

January 2, 2013 |

Photo: Agromin

When our second American president, John Adams, visited England on a diplomatic mission, he famously walked right to the compost pile of his distinguished host’s barnyard, plunged in his hands and said, “Well, this may be good manure, but it’s not equal to mine.”

Like our early forefathers – who were farmers before they were politicians – companies like Ventura, California-based Agromin recognize the importance of good dirt to our nation’s ongoing health and prosperity. For some 20 years, Agromin has been taking municipal and county green waste from Orange County to Santa Barbara and converting it into a variety of soil amendments that are organic, nutrient-rich and friendly to the earth. Read More

Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center Receives $6.5M Grant for Biogas, Bioenergy Research

November 1, 2012 |

News Release — WOOSTER, Ohio — Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) has received a $6.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy to test and expand a university-developed technology that can produce biogas from a variety of solid organic wastes and bioenergy crops.

Awarded through the Biomass Research Development Initiative (BRDI), the three-year grant will also allow researchers to develop technology for converting biogas to liquid hydrocarbon fuels, with the aim of further diversifying the country’s currently available suite of renewable transportation fuels. Read More

USDA Announces Funding to Help Ag Producers Integrate Renewable Energy Tech into Operations

October 30, 2012 |

USDA National Program for Genetic Improvement of Feed Efficiency in Beef CattleNews Release – WASHINGTON – Oct. 19, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced funding for 244 projects nationwide that are focused on helping agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy consumption and costs, and use renewable energy technologies in their operations. Funding is made available through USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Read More

New York’s Largest On-Farm Biogas Power Project Generates Renewable Energy for Nearly 1,000 Homes

May 1, 2012 |

Synergy Biogas LLC codigestion biogas power plant at Synergy Dairy, Covington, N.Y. (Photo: Business Wire)

News Release – COVINGTON, N.Y. – (BUSINESS WIRE) – U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) joined state and local officials today at the grand opening of New York state’s largest on-farm, ‘co-digestion’ biogas power project, marking an important boost to the state’s renewable energy production and sustainability efforts. The facility is located at Synergy Dairy, a 2,000-head dairy farm in Covington, Wyoming County, southwest of Rochester. Read More

Vermont Cow Power Program Makes Most Out of Manure, Benefits Farmers and Environment

April 12, 2012 |

Some might underestimate the power behind a cow—or let’s just say the power that comes from a cow’s behind.

But that’s not the case with electric utility Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS), which uses its Cow Power program to make the most out of cow manure while simultaneously lowering the manure’s negative impacts on the environment and benefiting farmers’ bottom lines.

By partnering with the Cow Power program, 10 dairy farms in Vermont have been able to acquire anaerobic digesters for their farms. The digesters are used to turn cow manure into renewable energy, which is sold back to the utility and then purchased by local customers who are willing to pay a little bit extra for the cleaner power. The process also leads to the production of things like bedding material and compost, which can be sold by the farms or used directly on their own operations. Read More

Chicago Org. Aims to Transform Industrial Blight into Sustainable Urban Farm and Food Business Incubator

March 15, 2012 |

Chicago builder, John Edel has embarked upon a seemingly impossible mission: to convert a 93,500 sq. ft. pork processing plant into The Plant, a sustainable closed-loop food business incubator housing aquaponic farming systems, hydroponics, vertical farms, rooftop gardens, private kitchens, two breweries, a bakery, a catering company, and a five-station shared kitchen.

Oh yeah, and he plans to power the whole thing solely on food waste. “Nothing but food leaves the building. That’s the plan and the mantra,” Edel says. According to its website, The Plant will eventually divert over 10,000 tons of food waste from landfills each year to meet all of its heat and power needs. Read More