Ron Carleton and the Nutrient Recycling Challenge

(Jamie) Welcome to Farm Factor! Let’s join Kyle and Ron Carleton, Counselor to the EPA Administrator of Agriculture, and learn about the Nutrient Recycling Challenge.
(Kyle) Hi. This is Kyle Bauer from Kansas City. I have the opportunity to visit with Ron Carleton. He is with EPA. I’m going to let you tell me what your title is, Ron.
(Ron Carleton) I am the Counselor to the EPA Administrator for Agricultural Policy.
(Kyle) You had an announcement recently dealing with animal waste. (Ron): Absolutely. We’re launching what’s known as Nutrient Recycling Challenge. Livestock producers in this country have to manage over a billion tons of manure or animal waste. Of course this is a very valuable resource but we think that there can be new technologies developed that is going to make better use of it, make it a little easier to manage and also provide environmental benefits as well, so we’re excited about this challenge. We’re excited about the partnerships that we’ve developed as part of this. USDA is going to partner with us as well as the Pork Producers Council, the Dairy Industry, Milk Producers, Iowa State University and a couple other universities. Tyson’s Food is partnering with us and a number of other — Smithfield is another one that’s going to partner with us. We’re excited about the collaborations, excited about the number of folks that got interested in this. We think that if we can develop this over a course of the next year and a half, it’s going to be a win-win for a lot of people. (Kyle) Truly, animal waste is a great resource but there are some real challenges on transporting it. (Ron) That’s one of, I think, the ideas behind this is that it is a valuable resource. But if you can recycle the nutrients and put it into a form where it’s easier to use whether it’s onsite on the farm or transport it, make it easier to transport it to an area where maybe it’s needed more and it could stimulate new markets as well. We think any of these options will help a producer better manage the animal waste and hopefully generate some new revenues and increase the bottom line. (Kyle) As I listen to your cooperators, I thought there’s parts of the country where this initiative probably is going to have a stronger impact than others. (Ron) I think so. I think especially where you have concentration of swine production and dairy production. I think this could be of a great benefit. Again, when you’re talking about a billion tons of animal waste around the country but certainly maybe in more areas than others. That presents quite a management challenge. (Kyle) It sounds like to me that there’s no preconceived notions how this, what sort of ideas that you’re going to get, whether they might be chemical or mechanical or biological on what might help. (Ron) That’s absolutely correct. We go into this with the expectation that we’re starting from scratch and we’re going to have innovators come in and present concepts. In phase one, we’ll get some concept ideas. Phase two, we’ll get to design. Phase three, we’ll then develop prototypes and kind of a proof of the concepts. These concepts actually might work. Then the phase four is going to be having demonstration pilot projects on the farm itself. We’re starting from scratch and we’re going to get hopefully viable usable products on the farm. Really, no real idea at this point what people are going to dream up. (Kyle) We’re visiting with Ron Carleton. We’re in Kansas City and Ron is with the Environmental Protection Agency. This is Kyle Bauer reporting.
(Jamie) Folks, stay with us after the break. Next up is this week’s Kansas Soybean Update.

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