Pa. is making a market for manure

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PHILADELPHIA – What can you do with 4.4 million tons of manure? Plenty, according to the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers.
Responding to recent concerns prompted by new regulations for manure, the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission tapped the centers for a solution to repurpose the tons of animal waste produced annually.
Pennsylvania Act 38 and resulting regulations dictate that excess manure can no longer be used where it is produced, creating a serious problem affecting many of the 55,000 farms in Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission.
Alternative. With only 24 percent of the state’s eligible cropland currently utilized for manure application, the commission needed to facilitate distribution of manure to the remaining available cropland and to find alternative uses for the additional tons of manure produced annually.
A committee tasked with furthering these alternatives discovered a model solution in the SBDC’s Pennsylvania Material Trader, a Web site promoting the exchange of waste materials.
The commission worked with the Pennsylvania SBDC, partnering with its Environmental Management Assistance Program, to replicate the functionality of the Material Trader site.
The result: Pennsylvania Manure Trader at www.ManureTrader.org.
Like the Material Trader Web site, Manure Trader is designed to turn one individual’s trash into another’s treasure. Despite its classification as “waste,” manure actually has a number of uses.
Opportunity. Manure Trader creates opportunities for traditional farmer-to-farmer exchanges for crop fertilization as well as opportunities to encourage innovative manure uses as varied as soil reclamation, algae production, and even building materials.
Manure listings may also serve to further alternative energy research: manure-to-methanol, anaerobic digestion, and co-firing are a few of the processes currently being considered. Visitors to the site can browse available and wanted listings or log in to create a confidential listing.
Manure Trader allows users to sort listings by type, price, quantity, and date listed. Registered users can sign up to be alerted when new listings in a desired category are posted. The site also includes broker and hauler directories.

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