Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, July 24, 1993, Image 35

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    ‘Odor Crisis * Propels Team Overseas To Look At Digesters
A six-member exchange team will travel to China to study ways to get rid of the
methane odor generated from manure and to supply Inexpensive power for those who
may warn to use the technology on their farms. Standing In front of a map of China
from left are Harlan Keener, swine farmer; James Kauffman, poultry farmer; Gerald
Heistand, Lancaster Conservation District assistant administrator; Dr. Richard Fite,
USDA, team leader; Virgil Gutshall, vo-ag Instructor and swine farmer; and Dr. Robert
Graves, Penn State professor of ag engineering.
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Lancaster Farming Staff
LANCASTER (Lancaster Co.)
On Wednesday, a six-member
exchange team will travel to China
to study ways to get rid of the
methane odor generated from
manure and to supply inexpensive
power for those who may want to
use the technology on their farms.
The group, which includes two
Lancaster County farmers, a con
servation district representative,
an ag teacher (also a farmer), a
USDA official, and an ag engineer,
will board a plane on July 28 for a
three-week trip to China.
The exchange is being engi
neered through the USDA Office
of International Cooperation and
Development with grants from
several ag industry and other orga
nizations, including the Center for
Rural Pennsylvania, a legislative
agency of the Pennsylvania Gener
al Assembly.
The purpose of the tour is to pro
vide information exchange
between the ag industries of the
two countries. Primarily, the visi
tors from the U.S. will want to
know exactly how the smaller
farms of China many with less
than 50 hogs, or 10-20 head of
dairy cattle make use of the
more than reportedly one million
methane digesters in the country.
“Back in the '7os, when I got
started in digester work when I was
in a similar position in Wisconsin,
it was the Energy Crisis,” said Dr.
Robert E. Graves, a professor of ag
engineering at Penn State, at a
meeting of the group at the Lancas
ter Farm and Home Center last
week. “Well, now I guess you’d
say it’s the Odor Crisis.”
The Odor Crisis, caused by
complaints from residential areas
located near farms that have man
ure storage facilities, has been
pushing the Soil Conservation Ser
vice and other agencies to find a
way to control the odor problem.
Methane digesters collect the
methane generated by manure and
use the gas to drive generators or to
provide heat.
Penn State research
ers and agencies have
been working for more
than a decade to find
some way to deal with
the odor problem. Far
mers that have manure
containment facilities,
such as storage tanks,
are seeking to cover the
facility but the gas
remains. Many are seek
ing ways to deal with the
potential problems of
methane gas, to either
contain it and bum it off
or to use a an anaerobic
digester and convert it to
electrical or heat
Graves, part of the
exchange group, said,
“I feel woefully
inadequate about good,
reasonably positive,
surefire methods of con
trolling odor from
stored manure.” The
digesters, he said, can
‘‘get a good handle on
Members of the
group include:
• Dr. Richard W.
Fite, veterinary medical
officer, USDA. Fite is
the team leader.
(Turn'to Pag* A 36)
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