Last July Moshem Amiran came to Maria Stein to show farmers and civic leaders his patented technique for processing livestock manure into organic fertilizer. Last week representatives of Amiran Technologies based in Oak Creek, Wis., returned to Maria Stein to unveil their plans for a 25,000 square foot plant to process manure from local farms.
The company plans to break ground in April or May for what they are calling the Ag Conversions Ohio Grand Lake Watershed facility. When fully running, the plant will use 350,000 tons of liquid manure to make 590,000 tons of pelleted fertilizer per year. It will employ about 60 people directly in the processing and about 180 in related fields like transportation and warehousing.
The region has more than 300 livestock operations and has been ruled a distressed watershed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Soil and Water Resources. The vast majority of the farm operations have comprehensive nutrient management plans. Some farmers have had to restrict their livestock numbers to meet the requirements of the plans.
Jared Ebbing, economic and community development director for Mercer County, told the Daily Standard, the new plant would help local farmers to continue to grow and not be stifled by the distressed designation. “We don’t want to hear farmers saying ‘We are going to be having to be thinning our herds,’ ” he is quoted as saying. “We don’t want to lose what we have in our ag community. We wanted to see what technology was out there to help.”
The facility will have covered storage capacity for 3,000 to 5,000 tons of dry manure. It will also have lagoons capable of holding up to 7 million tons of liquid manure. Initially, they will be working with both swine manure and poultry litter. Much of processed fertilizer product will be applied to row crop production. The company says they can formulate the product to exclude phosphorous.
Between this new processing plant and the steps livestock producers themselves have taken in the area, the manure concerns seem to be coming under control in the region. However, none of this addresses the current problem of excess phosphorous already in the soil with the capacity to run off in the water as dissolved phosphorous and cause future algal blooms in Grand Lake St. Marys.
More technology is welcome.