Digesters Produce Energy to Heat Poultry Houses

US - Anaerobic digesters can use poultry litter to produce energy to heat poultry houses, John Logan, a broiler producer in Mississippi told environmental managers attending the 2010 Environmental Management Seminar.
calendar icon 31 March 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

Mr Logan was speaking at the annual conference is sponsored by US Poultry & Egg Association's Poultry & Egg Institute.

A contract producer for Tyson Foods, he operates ten broiler houses. He described how the anaerobic digester takes litter and produces methane gas. The methane gas generates electricity used to heat his broiler houses. "The process reduces my energy costs and also provides high quality compost and liquid fertiliser," he said. Logan was recognized by USPoultry as a Family Farm Environmental Award winner at the 2010 International Poultry Expo.

Another session featured an 'Executive Perspective of Environmental Management' by Bob Billingsley, director of development and engineering for Sanderson Farms.

He said: "Environmental concerns are a top priority for Sanderson Farms in every project, from site selection, to a consistent design of wastewater treatment facilities, to standard operating procedures, to community outreach.

"In site selection criteria, water supply is a major factor, considering both surface water and ground water. Other site criteria must include wastewater discharge options, including direct discharge and receiving waters. Also, land application is an important factor, looking at both land availability and soil characteristics."

Mr Billingsley reviewed Sanderson's environmental management standard operating procedures.

He explained: "Sampling and monitoring provide consistency. Daily logs are used for process controls. And communication is vital, achieved with daily conference calls and a weekly executive committee report on environmental issues.

"But the greatest asset of our environmental department is our team effort. I ask that they keep three things in mind – energy, effort and urgency. In coming up with a solution, put energetic thoughts into it, make a great effort, and have a sense of urgency in getting the issue resolved."

James Banks of law firm, Hogan and Hartson, presented a 'Legal Review and Outlook'. He told the environmental managers that "this may be the most sobering time ever" for the poultry industry from an environmental perspective. He cited the confluence of environmental activists and the Administration's attempts to permit all poultry farms under the Clean Water Act. He said that the EPA has four priority issues: increased enforcement, CAFO regulation, ammonia emissions and emergency reporting, and nutrient management, referring to all of them as "daunting".

Other sessions included topics such as 'Environmental Sustainability', 'Stormwater Options', 'The Chesapeake Bay Initiative's Impact on the Poultry Industry', and 'Clean Water Award Winner Plant Tours'.

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