A workshop next month in western Ohio aims to clean up Grand Lake St. Marys — and in doing it, give farmers a new source of income.

“Turning Manure into Ca$h” features new technologies for turning livestock waste into sellable fuel, fertilizers and bioresins. It’s on March 8 in Maria Stein, about 10 miles south of the lake. Five state organizations that work in agriculture and natural resources are behind it.

“We have new manure rules in place for Grand Lake, but we still have the same amount of manure, so we need to look at ways of reducing our nutrient loads,” said Jim Hoorman, one of the speakers and an Ohio State University Extension educator in Mercer County.

“Farmers can adopt these technologies, sell their manure for a profit, and reduce their nutrients,” Hoorman said.

Grand Lake St. Marys has been hit hard the past two summers by toxic algae blooms, which caused boating, fishing and swimming closures and threaten the lake’s tourism industry.

Scientists link the blooms to nutrients in farm runoff, with nitrogen and phosphorus the main culprits. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, as a result, has put new rules in place limiting manure use near the lake.

“Many farmers are reaching limits on how much manure they can apply to their fields due to phosphorus limits on their fields,” Hoorman said. “So these alternatives give them a way to stay in business and get value-added products from their manure.”

One option is selling swine manure to produce bioresin, which Hoorman said can replace up to a quarter of what’s in asphalt. Paint and fertilizer coatings can be made from it too.

With the demand for asphalt high and the price over $500 a ton, a farmer can make up to $10 per pig space by selling their manure to make bioresin, Hoorman said.

Other topics will include anaerobic digestion and methane production, removing phosphorus from dairy wastewater and from swine manure, the results of a bio-oil farm demonstration, and the water quality benefits of removing nitrogen and phosphorus.

The speakers will be from OSU Extension plus the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Louisiana State University, Shoup Farms, Innoventor Inc., Multiform Harvest Inc. and NuVention Solutions Inc.

A question-and-answer session will follow the talks. Get a complete list of topics and speakers at http://go.osu.edu/B3A.

Hours are 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the Knights of St. John Hall, 8608 State Route 119, Maria Stein.

Attendance is free, includes lunch, but is limited to 300. Register by March 4 at 419-586-2179. Registration is needed to guarantee space and a lunch.

Partners in presenting the program are OSU Extension, Ohio’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, and the Farm Service Agency.

Lunch sponsors are the Auglaize County Farm Bureau, Coldwater Grain, Cooper Farms, Fort Recovery Equity, the Mercer County Farm Bureau, Mercer County Pork Producers, the Mercer County Soil and Water Conservation District, Mercer Landmark, and Trupointe Cooperative Inc.

OSU Extension, which brings the resources of Ohio State directly to the people of Ohio, is the outreach arm of the university’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

From The Ohio State University Extension