Poultry farmers all over the globe are running into serious problems with the waste from chickens, which is real trouble when it gets into the water supply. Years back John Logan, a farmer from Prentiss, Mississippi, noticed the same problem. In an interview with NPR radio he recalled, "I said, 'I got to do something.' I can't be putting this on the ground. Now, I have a river right here. What's to happen when that phosphorus overload washes into the river, which then ends up in the Gulf of Mexico?"
John raises around 275,000 chickens. That can create a lot of waste. In the world each year over 50 billion chickens are raised and sold for food, either for their meat or their eggs. As a conservationist, he looked at his friendly neighbors, the cattle ranchers, for inspiration. For years they had been using a manure digester, which turns cow manure into energy. Chicken manure had been mixed and used, but never on its own. Logan worked with researchers and scientists at Mississippi State University to develop and patent the first successful chicken poop digester.
Why aren't there more of these all over farms? Well because of complicated rules and policies at every level of government, it has discouraged use. Right now there are 130 in the U.S., but there could and should be thousands. Some solutions would be to make the process less complicated and to have Congress fix the Federal Clean Water Act to include the treatment of chicken manure.
Is there a global business opportunity here? Sure, Logan started his own company Eagle Green Energy, which processes and sells these digesters for $500,000. It may look like a lot of money, but you're saving a lot on the energy side in the process. John used to have a power bill of around $8,000 a month, but the month after it dropped to $200, and then the next month he got a refund! As for the global side, John has four digesters in Mississippi, is building two in Maryland and Delaware, and is contracting with companies in Italy, Austrailia, and India. It's interesting to see how a little innovation and green thinking can go a long way in business and preserving our environment.