|By Robert Cohen Executive Director|
AMERICA SUBSIDIZES COW POOP RESEARCH
A Connecticut dairy co-op has received $33,000 from the federal government to develop an alternative use for manure. USDA spokesman Daniel Beudette said: "If this thing clicks, these guys can probably make more money on the manure than they can on milk." I am relieved to know that our government is putting money where their mouth is! This story appeared in the August 21, 2002 Connecticut Courant (by Jesse Leavenworth). The author interviewed one farmer, Ben Freund, who stood by his man-made lagoon which held nearly 4 million pounds of raw liquid manure. Farmer Freund remarked: "Nobody wants anybody else's [manure]." Guess what word he really used? My response to Farmer Freund's comment, to coin a popular expression: "No [manure], Sherlock!" Farmer Ben and brother Matt have 240 cows, and their least favorite tool of trade is the shovel. They've invented a method of compressing the manure into a small square composed of dirt, manure, and growth medium. That and an implanted seed would result in an easy-to-decompose gardening aid for next spring. Now, why didn't I think of that? I spoke with farmer Matt and congratulated him on his vision. I commented that his 4 million pounds of poop is a mere drop in the bucket when compared to all of the poop generated by American dairy cows. He recognizes this, and suggested that sometimes we have to think "outside of the box." Matt Freund is right, of course. He and the other farmers in that Connecticut dairy co-op own and milk 2,000 cows, but their dairy business outlook is a bit lower than the retail value of all the Holstein Havarti in Hartford. A dairy cow produces 150 pounds of free fertilizer per day. America's 9.2 million dairy cows produce over 500 billion pounds of this funky stuff each year. What do progressive farmers do with their liquid manure these days? Efficient systems transport liquid feces and urine to machines that spray crops. Wonder why there is an occasional case of E. coli poisoning after broc-coli consumption? Coming soon to a Target store near you. No store employee need memorize the aisle location. Follow the bouquet.
Robert Cohen, author of: MILK A-Z
Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dairy Education Board
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