Midwestern BioAg, Inc. in Madison, has received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The grant will fund development of an organic-allowed version of TerraNu fertilizer, a new class of fertilizer manufactured with anaerobically digested manure.
The project builds on the company’s earlier innovation, TerraNu Nutrient Technology™, which transforms dairy manure and plant nutrients into a uniform, dry fertilizer granule that can be efficiently stored, transported, blended and spread. The objective of the project is to develop a form of TerraNu fertilizer that can be used on certified-organic farms.
The USDA’s SBIR program offers grants to qualified small businesses to support research of important scientific problems and opportunities in agriculture, especially projects that could lead to significant public benefits.
Dr. Maggie Phillips, Director of Research and Development at Midwestern BioAg, will lead the project. “Manure is an important nutrient source, especially for our organic customers,” said Dr. Phillips. “Currently, TerraNu fertilizers are designed to enhance the crops on conventional farms by feeding soil biology and providing balanced mineral nutrition. Through this funding, we hope to develop an organic-allowed version of these products and bring the benefits of TerraNu Nutrient Technology to all types of crop production.”
TerraNu Nutrient Technology facilitates easy transfer of nutrients from livestock manure to distant row-crop farms, thereby reducing impacts to local water supplies. Making this product available to the organic market offers important benefits to growers and their communities.
“Our new process makes nutrient recycling from manure beneficial to both dairies and crop producers,” said Dr. Phillips. “Growing the market with an organic-approved TerraNu fertilizer helps more growers contribute to preservation of our natural resources.”