Monday, May 12, 2008

Manure Entrepreneurs: Turning Brown to Green

This is an upcoming event that some of you may be interested in attending. I've already sent in my registration. So if you plan on attending, look me up and say hello!

The high price of commercial fertilizer makes poultry manure worth more money, said Dennis Feezor, High Point, Mo. He found that waste from his and his neighbors' poultry houses has become a product in high demand.

"We can't make enough of it," Feezor said. "It" is composted poultry manure. Feezor will speak as a "manure entrepreneur" at the annual Breimyer Seminar, May 22, at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

"Entrepreneurs are taking advantage of economic, cultural and environmental changes to transform what was once called a waste into a recognized resource," said seminar organizer Laura McCann.

McCann, associate professor of agricultural economics, lined up livestock producers, manufacturers, marketers and academics to talk about new uses for livestock waste.

Feezor and 11 neighbors formed a co-op to compost poultry manure for sale as a value-added product. "We started thinking we had a niche product for organic growers," Feezor said. "Now, with the price of fertilizer going out of sight, we are selling to crop farmers. We could have sold three times what we produced this year."

The Breimyer Seminar, which addresses a new agricultural policy issue each year, has a theme this year of "Manure Entrepreneurs: Turning Brown into Green." Other farmers will tell how they turn swine and cow manure into profits.

John Lory, MU Extension nutrient management specialist with the Commercial Agriculture program, will speak on "How High Fuel, Fertilizer and Commodity Prices Affect Manure Management Decisions."

The seminar is funded in part by a trust fund in honor of Harold Breimyer, longtime USDA and MU agricultural economist. This year's seminar is dedicated to Charles Fulhage, MU agricultural engineer in manure management, who died in a truck crash earlier this year.

Advance registration is required, though the $25 fee can be paid at the door. The fee includes lunch and a permit for on-campus parking.

For information or registration, contact Joyce White at or 573-882-6533. The program is available online at

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