• Andrew Saunders

Cargill Announces Winner of $50,000 Manure Challenge Prize

Last year, The Yield Lab Institute organized a competition for startups tasked with innovating solutions for mitigating the negative environmental impact of manure waste and uncovering opportunities to find sustainable economic value in the manure and farm waste treatment industry.

Over 60 agtech startups in the manure industry from across the globe applied for the competition. Only 8 of these startups were carefully selected to compete for the $50,000 non-dilutive prize in a pitching competition. The competition was sponsored by global food corporation Cargill's Department of Sustainability, the pig farming company The Maschhoffs, and the agriculture and food work space hub WeWork Food Labs. The fairly young competition was founded by the Word Wildlife Fund (WWF), Newtrient, and the Dairy Farmers of America. All these organizations are stakeholders in the manure industry and have worked together to create both economical sustainable manure solutions.

Due to issues regarding travel restrictions recently in the United States and globally, the challenge took place online over a video conference. The 8 startups pitched their solutions live to an audience of over 450 stakeholders in agtech, manure, and fertilizer industry. See a recording of the pitches and the competition here.

Our team at The Yield Lab Institute would like to congratulate the 8 finalists for making it to this stage and presenting their solutions:

The winner of the 2020 Manure Challenge is Digested Organics!

Dr. Bobby Levine presented the pitch for Digested Organics in the 2020 Manure challenge. Bobby and Digested Organics have designed a filtration system that takes raw manure and waste and transforms it into 3 products that can be reused and reclaimed by farmers: clean water, fertilizers, and renewable energy. Dr. Levine explains in his pitch how a membrane filtration system isolates water from suspended solids in the initial manure inputs creating a permeate (T-water) with dissolved salts. The permeate is pure enough that it can be used in irrigation systems, ultimately saving costs of watering for the farmer. The organic concentrate then can be composted and used as a safe fertilizer for the application in farming. Digested Organic's technology uses both reverse and forward osmosis (RO and FO) on the permeate to create clean drinking water and an even more concentrated fertilizing product rich in phosphorus, Nitrogen and other fertilizing components. The process is energy and more cost effective in the osmosis step compared to typical practices such as evaporation. Digested Organics calls this process Nutrient Concentration and Water Reclamation (NCWR).

To learn more about the company and other startups that competed in this competition, click on the links in the graphic above, and uncover the work being done to capture value and mitigate negative environmental impact in farm waste.

Stay safe and keep innovating!