into Gold: executive summary and links
to the report
No silver bullets, no sacred cows.
report proposes a strategic context for manure management in Ontario
and focuses on priorities for short-term and long-term research and
development financing. It proposes a possible mission statement that
establishes a sustainable economic development context for this
“Ontario will lead the transition to sustainable animal farming and food production in Canada. An essential component of this transition will be identifying integrated technologies and business models that transform manure from a waste management and environmental problem into a valuable resource solution generating marketable products.”
manure into gold requires mobilization of the economic self-interest of
farmers, food processors, farm
suppliers, technology companies, and trade associations. At the same
time, government must be prepared to partner in economic development
solutions that secure the public goods of livable communities, clean
air and water, and healthy land. Integrated solutions using the
opportunity of sustainable manure management will also help government
reduce the costs of the negative impacts of poor management.
“the transition to sustainable animal farming and food
production” a primary context for manure management creates a
synergy between public and private interests. Ontario’s farm
and food economy needs to build a new source of competitive advantage.
In the past the strategy of encouraging large intensive livestock
operations (factory farms) to come to Ontario and produce for export
has driven many small farmers out of business and damaged rural
recent years more and more countries are cutting off imports due to
alarms like mad cow disease, avian flu, and contamination of crops and
even meat from genetically modified organisms. On the positive side
there is growing consumer demand for healthful food produced through
ecologically managed farming and development of niche markets. Together
these two trends could lead to a much greater emphasis of
local-regional farms producing for local-regional consumption, which
could be seen as a “silo-ization” of food markets.
So there are signs that a transition to sustainable farming in Ontario could be this new source of competitive advantage, with management of manure on farms integrated with the whole system of ecological farm practices.
application of manure to farm land should use only a limited portion of
the amount produced, a range of technologies may be used to generate
renewable energy and products. Manufacturing, building, and operating
such technologies at the appropriate scale can also become a component
of Ontario’s sustainable economic development policy.
links to download the report
section 2 of this report we summarize the negative impacts of
manure and other information
on farming in Ontario, including the scale of production, the Manure
Management Act, and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture sponsored
project, Advanced Manure Management Technologies for Ontario (AMMTO) .
3 of the report covers the two sides of manure management: integrated management on
the farm and technologies for conversion of the resource into economic
value. While farm practices
for manure processing and technologies for conversion of manure and
generation of energy and products, will play a role, they are only part
of the larger system required for manure to become an economic resource
rather than an environmental and waste management problem. This system
has to integrate farm practices, selection of technologies, effective
business models, support for venture development, and public policies.
Section 3 of this report we summarize
for this integrated system;
An appendix to this section of the report is an Evaluation Matrix spread sheet summarizing the recommendations of this chapter:
options for farm management, technologies for conversion, and
2. the areas of environmental and social impact
3. R&D and capacity development priorities are keyed in the comments column.
matrix gives our first cut assessment of the relative importance of
each option for managing the different environmental and social impacts
of manure. Electronically the matrix is an Excel file, Evaluation
alternative business models for manure management.
A major obstacle to application of technologies for processing manure,
such as anaerobic digesters and energy generation equipment, is the
reluctance of farmers and large farm operations to incur the costs and
technical problems of purchasing and operating such systems. Several
business models are emerging to overcome this obstacle. Possibilities
include farm ownership and operation; a third party builds, owns, and
operates; utility company ownership; and farm co-operatives.
business model used will be determined by scale of manure production,
the technologies selected, and possible sources of other biomass
materials for conversion to increase scale. The third party build, own,
operate model, utilized by a dedicated company or a utility, provides
the necessary technical and business due diligence process and
continuity of management. There is a strong rationale for the
public sector to partner in any of these models: cutting pollution and
health risks from poor manure management reduces public costs.
Sections 3 and 4 together
offer major components of the broader strategy for making sustainable
farming a major source of competitive advantage for Ontario.
Many of the farm practices for manure management outlined here will
partially contribute to farms achieving organic certification. The
technologies will generate renewable energy from farm biomass residues
and offer significant economic development opportunities.
links to download the report
5 discusses the rationale for a
to sustainable agriculture and food production in
Ontario. This context enables the stakeholders to mobilize the economic
development resources required for changes in farm practices and for
adoption of new technologies, including public private partnerships,
financing and incubation for ventures supporting farms in the
transtion, public procurement programs, and R & D. The farm
manure management practices and technologies we have outlined in
Section 3 amount to first steps in a transition to sustainable animal
farming. The business models of section 4 may make adoption of these
technologies more feasible.
5 and cases in the Appendix suggest principles for sustainable farming
which may be summed up as: “The
are seeing one’s farmland as a living system embedded in a
broader ecosystem and understanding how to manage all farm practices on
the basis of this holistic perception.”
Section 7 recommends a set of research themes for short- and long-term R & D encompassing economic analysis, scientific research, agricultural technologies, farm practices, and capacity development. In brief, these are:
Recommendations for Short-term R&D
analysis is required of the several different business models to
determine which are feasible for different scales of application of
manure processing technologies.
of combined or sequenced symbiotic technologies and combinations of
agricultural waste resources to achieve optimal scale of technology.
Biodiesel production from methane (anaerobic digestion) and combination with waste vegetable and animal oils, or with soy, corn or other crop oils produced for the purpose.
Mesophilic anaerobic digestion (AD) dependability/cost optimization; ‘least-cost’ AD for manure disposal, biogas production
high-performance digestion for appropriate-scale applications on large
farms, ILOs and co-ops
Intensive horticultural development associated with biogas production, waste heat opportunities
Constructed wetlands for pollution prevention, digester effluent treatment and manure management effluents treatment
Technological and economic barriers to distributed electrical generation from manure and other biomass sources: focusing technological choices with economic effects
Recommendations for Short-term Capacity Development
Geographic Information Systems and GIS-supporting data acquisition
Land use planning for technological scale and application optimization
Rectifying gaps in knowledge of pathogens, foodborne and water-borne illnesses in Ontario: Bringing public health administration and policy toward animal waste management up to the challenges
Long-term R&D investment priorities
Fuel cells for biogas conversion
Manure conversion to feed supplement
woody plants for excess nutrient uptake, sustainable forestry, biomass
energy and advanced materials recovery (pyrolysis, hydrolysis,
Links to download the full report as MS-Word files, prepared by Indigo Development for CRESTech Center, Toronto, Canada in May 2004
Download main report
including case studies and technology descriptions
Download matrix evaluating farm practices and technologies to utilize manure and reduce its impacts.