Competition to encourage recycling nutrients from livestock waste

Pork and dairy producers look to develop technologies that extract nutrients from livestock manure for environmental and economic benefits.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pork and dairy producers, and environmental and scientific experts to launch the Nutrient Recycling Challenge, a competition to develop affordable technologies that recycle nutrients from livestock waste.

Every year, livestock producers manage more than one billion tons of manure, which contains valuable nutrients – nitrogen and phosphorus – that plants need to grow. Challenge participants will develop technologies that extract nutrients from livestock manure to generate products with environmental and economic benefits that farmers can use or sell.

“Scientists and engineers are already building technologies that can recover nutrients, but further development is needed to make them more effective and affordable,” said EPA administrator Gina McCarthy. “The Nutrient Recycling Challenge will harness the power of competition to find solutions that are a win-win for farmers, the environment, and the economy.”

During the four-phase competition, innovators will turn their concepts into designs and eventually into working technologies that livestock farms will use in pilot projects.

Phase I, which begins Nov. 16 and ends Jan. 15, calls for papers outlining ideas for these technologies. Phase I prizes will be announced in March and include up to $20,000 cash to be split between up to four semi-finalists; invitation to a two-day partnering and investor summit in Washington, DC; and entry into subsequent phases of the challenge with larger awards. Final awards will be announced January 2017, with farm demonstration pilots to follow.

Partners in the Nutrient Recycling Challenge are:


           American Biogas Council

•           American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers

•           Ben & Jerry’s

•           Cabot Creamery Cooperative

•           Cooper Farms

•           CowPots

•           Dairy Farmers of America

•           Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy

•           Iowa State University

•           Marquette University

•           National Milk Producers Federation

•           National Pork Producers Council

•           Newtrient LLC

•           Smithfield Foods

•           Strategic Conservation Solutions

•           Tyson Foods

•           U.S. Department of Agriculture

•           Washington State University

•           Water Environment Research Federation

•           World Wildlife Fund

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