Manure Challenge to highlight technologies that can benefit the industry
A new startup competition is highlighting innovative manure-management technologies that can benefit the environment and increase farmers’ productivity.
Connie Bowen, executive director of the Yield Lab Institute, says The Manure Challenge will increase collaboration in the industry and drive investment for more impactful manure management.
“We’re also going to be publishing a model by which we can quantify the actual environmental impact as it’s attributable to an equity investment,” she says.
She tells Brownfield innovation in this area will support a sustainable and profitable model.
“We know that there are technologies that exist today, it’s just a matter of thinking creatively about a win-win business model that enables commercial adoption and spread independently of any kind of subsidy regulation,” she says.
The Manure Challenge is organized by Yield Lab Institute with guidance from the World Wildlife Fund, Newtrient, and the Dairy Farmers of America.
More than 60 applications were accepted in May. In August, 6-10 of those companies will be selected to participate in the challenge. Companies will compete for a cash prize and an open-sourced model quantifying the correlation between investment and environmental impact for manure management technologies.
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Yield Lab Institute recently announced the addition of advisors and sponsors to the Manure Challenge. The sponsors include Cargill, the Maschhoffs, and WeWork FoodLabs. The advisory network includes Joseph Ziobro with the EPA, Rod Larkins with the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute, Kraig Westerbeek with Smithfield, Jonathan Hua with Thrive Accelerator, Aaron Ratner with Ultra Capital LLC, Evan Fraser with the Arrell Food Institute, Ben Gaddy with the Clean Energy Trust, and Fidan Karimova with the Water Research Foundation.
Audio: Connie Bowen, Yield Lab Institute