Agriculture

Product advancement and
innovation in
concrete technology is the
hallmark of Canada’s
cement and concrete industry.
Take a closer look at
what today’s concrete solutions
can provide
Canada’s agricultural community.

Smart Growth

Opportunity

One of the major opportunities for family farms today is the conversion of land from grain crops to pasture and forage production. This responds to a market shift favouring the livestock sector.

Challenge

This growth comes with its challenges – especially increased demand for responsible manure management. Rules and regulations are in place to ensure that livestock expansion can occur while respecting the quality of life of all individuals within the surrounding community. The primary concerns with current manure management practices include:

  • Surface and groundwater contamination
  • Odour created from storage and spreading of manure
  • Emissions of methane and nitrous oxide as greenhouse gases.
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The need to find efficient and cost-effective waste management solutions are paramount. Odour and disease control, as well as water quality protection, have become priority issues to Canadian farm operators and municipalities. Environmental concerns and the high rate of urban/suburban sprawl are changing the landscape of the farming industry and the way it is perceived by Canadian communities.

There is a solution that can help to manage this expansion to the satisfaction of the farm operator, the municipality, as well as the community.

Solution

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Incorporating an Integrated Waste Management System into a livestock operation will allow farm waste to be turned into resources that produce energy, organic fertilizer and reusable water. This system provides an economically viable and environmentally responsible solution for both managing manure and transforming it into a valuable resource.

Livestock producers who incorporate this system can:

  • Derive economic benefits from organic carbon and nutrients contained in the manure
  • Offset greenhouse gas emissions
  • Eliminate adverse environmental impacts.

Integrated Waste Management Solution

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Diagram courtesy of the Alberta Reseach Council

This Integrated Waste Management Solution (IWMS) incorporates wastewater treatment, aerobic and anaerobic digester systems.

The anaerobic digester system is designed to hold decomposing manure under controlled, oxygen-free conditions that promote the growth of naturally occurring bacteria. These bacteria digest manure, producing methane and an effluent that farmers can use in place of untreated manure.

Methane gas produced by digesters – known as biogas, can be captured costeffectively and used as an energy source. Farmers can use biogas to produce additional electrical and thermal energy while reducing odour and methane emissions.

Production of this electricity reduces operating costs and makes the operation more self-sufficient by reducing dependency on an outside energy provider. The process also prevents surface and groundwater contamination.

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Canadian farm operators know the level of commitment it takes to remain successful in an ever changing environment. They routinely face significant challenges of landscape,weather, population growth, rapidly advancing farming technology, and changing legislation.

In order to ensure a sustainable future, those involved in the farming industry must rely on dedication, education, insight and innovation.

As the use of the system proceeds, treatment could involve aerobic digestion or composting of waste solids into compost fertilizer. Processed digested solids could be marketed to farmers or gardeners as a high quality fertilizer.

Liquid effluent can be processed through a wastewater treatment process and used as water for farm application. Excess electricity produced from captured methane could be sold off to electric utilities. Such benefits represent significant potential revenue and cost savings which are critical to the viability of today’s farm operators.

Concrete Solutions

What's Next?

All levels of government – Federal, Provincial and Municipal – are seriously seeking to create incentive programs that protect our water supply and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Programs currently under consideration include grants, cost sharing, low-interest loans, demonstration projects, information and technical support. By partnering in an Integrated Waste Management Project, you can take advantage of these assistance programs. In addition, you will be seen as a concerned and progressive leader in the industry and your community.

The cement and concrete industry in Canada is seeking opportunities to bring together governments, interested farmers and other prospective stakeholders interested in setting up a partnership that would greatly benefit all parties involved.

No matter what
your primary objective
may be,
this is an opportunity
worth investigating.

Here is the opportunity for you to resolve current farming concerns, increase the profitability of your operation and create a sustainable business model for future farm generations:

  • Offset fluctuating revenues from crops and livestock
  • Realize an additional source of income to ensure sustainability and growth of operation
  • Reduce dependency on crop insurance and government assistance programs
  • Contribute positively to climate change
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If you are interested in working in partnership with our industry to realize such an opportunity, contact your local Cement Association office for details.