Making the Case for On Farm Anaerobic Digesters
Anaerobic Digestion is one of the more promising biological technologies for sustainable waste management and has the potential to turn a large and worsening agro-headache into a growing opportunity for sustainable farming. It can extract useful biogas energy and high quality fertilizer from manure and other problematic agro waste products while also reducing the air and water pollution and emissions of greenhouse gases from a farming operation.
Anaerobic Digestion harnesses natural living biological processes to maintain the natural carbon cycle and extract useful energy and fertilizer byproducts from what had been problematic waste streams. It is well suited for many types of farming operations and is an important sustainable farming practice.
Currently the byproducts of many farming operations are poorly and only partially utilized and often become part of an unexploited polluting waste stream. Furthermore, the scale of this pollution problem is very large. A single large scale feedlot operation generates the waste equivalent of a small city, which is pretty amazing and cause for concern.
Farming operations produce byproducts such as manure, animal bedding, feed waste, and runoff from silos that in many cases contribute to pollution of waterways, smell bad, attract rodents and flies and can carry dangerous pathogens within them posing a public health risk. As anyone who has ever been in the general vicinity of a feedlot or other type of animal farming operation knows the smell of rank manure can become overpowering.
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