A team of researchers at the University of Idaho recently secured a $10 million grant from the USDA to evaluate the use of bioproducts generated by the dairy industry. The U of I’s Mark McGuire says this five-year project will involve a wide variety of disciplines, and this funding will allow them to look at expanding bioproduct options that currently exist.

“And that’s essentially taking manure and finding valuable ways to extract nutrients from the manure and improve soil health and giving dairy producers some alternatives to just spreading raw manure on the land.”

McGuire said the bioeconomy is the hallmark of sustainable agricultural systems, and hold great potential for many in Idaho’s farm community, and beyond.

“What we’re trying to do is find ways to extract the nutrients out of manure, which is very valuable, in the fact that there is nitrogen and phosphorus present there, and organic matter that would improve soil health.  But the issue is hauling water.  And so what we’re trying to do is through a variety of different technologies that have been developed find ways to extract those nutrients and especially provide an alternative crop nutrient source to commercial fertilizer.”

McGuire added their research won’t focus solely on manure, but other waste streams such as food processing as well. Idaho is currently the third largest dairy producing state in the U.S.

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