One of the nation's largest organic dairy farms is transforming cow poop into water and dry organic fertilizer.
Natural Prairie Dairy Farms installed a Varcor system at its Lake Village, Indiana, dairy to transform cow manure into clean water, nitrogen and dry fertilizer, reducing greenhouse emissions and creating a closed-loop farm system.
Multigenerational farmers from Holland, Donald and Cheri De Jong own Natural Prairie Dairy, which has locations in Indiana and Texas. There are 30 employees and 3,200 cows at their Indiana dairy.
“When you take care of the land, you take care of the cows, and the cows take care of you,” Donald De Jong said. “The Varcor system is consistent with those values.”
How does the Varcor work?
Varcor converts cow manure into:
- Aqueous Ammonia, and
- Dry Phosphorus Powder.
Natural Prairie Dairy developed the Varcor system in a joint venture with Sedron Agriculture, a division of Sedron Technologies. Sedron Technologies is led by Peter Janicki, who previously had partnered with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop the Janicki Omni Processor, which processes human waste into clean, drinkable water.
Donald and Cheri De Jong tapped engineering experts at Sedron Agriculture to eliminate the need for building manure lagoons on a dairy farm. The Washington-based company sourced 70 engineers over a three-year period to assist the De Jongs in their goal of lowering their organic dairies’ environmental impact.
“Traditionally, the cow manure would discharge into a lagoon. And in this lagoon, the ammonia, which is a type of nitrogen fertilizer, will actually be lost in the environment,” said Stanley Janicki, VP of Business Development at Sedron Agriculture. “With the Varcor, through a process called mechanical vapor recompression (similar to how Mother Nature cleans water with heat and evaporation), we produce clean water, capture that ammonia, then we capture the phosphorus, and eliminate the need for a lagoon, which is so exciting."