Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Let's Talk about . . . Poop

We just got an update from our engineering team - they're looking at various methods of managing waste from the goat farm. For those of us inexperienced with farming and ranching, taking care of fecal matter and other waste isn't something we normally consider, but it's essential element of the operation.

In an urban environment, this becomes even more important than in a rural area. Smell, runoff, and space all impact more people nearby, so some traditional methods of waste management may not be an option. Currently, the engineers are considering an anaerobic digester, which may be less than ideal because of the dryness of goat manure; composting, attractive for being environmentally friendly but possibly a very long-term commitment; and a parking lot (traditional) method, which is not preferred simply because it lacks the innovation we'd hoped to see on this project. Other suggested methods are distributing the manure for fertilizer or using it to heat a hoop house (which could be used to grow crops).

Besides manure, some of our products may involve waste. Meat is a relatively simple proposition, since the goats would likely be sold to a meat processing facility, but cheese comes with a lot of liquid waste.

What kind of waste management would you like to see? Any new ideas?


  1. i like the idea of distributing the manure for fertilizer … aren't there some urban gardens that are sprouting up in detroit that could use some donated fertilizer?

  2. I like that idea too, not least because with how dry goat manure is, runoff would be less of an issue in an urban environment.

  3. Distributing the manure for fertilizer is a good idea because it is rich in nutrients and does wonders for the pH of the soil, however, some composting or heating of the manure should be employed. This will kill off any parasites that may be present, as well as stop any seeds or undigested plant matter from spreading unwanted plants (aka weeds).

  4. Our engineers have come up with a method that will allow us to compost at a faster rate than usual using vermiculture (worms) as well as microorganisms. We'll control the smell using special filters that bind to the sulfur compounds that create the "poop smell." Another advantage? They've made it possible to use the heat released from composting to heat our barn, lowering our heating bills and carbon footprint.