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Shepherd feed lot first in U.S. with planned facility to turn 'manure into gold'

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Posted at 7:59 AM, Jun 26, 2024

SHEPHERD - The owner of Yellowstone Cattle Feeders in Shepherd plans to build a barn so that cattle can be kept indoors, which will increase efficiency for the livestock, including collecting methane and dealing with fertilizer.

It will be the first-of-its-kind facility for cattle in the United States that will bring more value to the mature.

“The manure waste is really our sweet spot,” said Craig Scott, Bion Environmental Technologies business development director. “We like to say that we're turning that manure into gold.”

Yellowstone Cattle Feeders is capitalizing on manure, teaming up with Bion to better collect animal waste and turn it into a better fertilizer.

“Really a new age technology way of feeding cattle and more into a barn style to where we can collect that manure through slots and that will go down into a digester,” said Turk Stovall, Yellowstone Cattle Feeders owner. “And then the Bion Technologies will actually take that digester and make it into more value-added fertilizers just like an organic fertilizer.”

Stovall, who is also owner and CEO of Stovall Ranching Companies, says the plans are to begin with construction of a massive indoor facility able to hold up to 15,000 head of cattle.

The facility will allow manure to be collected indoors, harvested, and then turned into fertilizer, with methane gas also used for natural gas and even producing clean water.

“Cleaning our pens. We're cleaning the manure out of our pens,” Stovall said about the current operation. “And we take that and we stockpile that and then we work with farmers here in the valley and that is provided as a fertilizer."

“We have to produce the methane in the anaerobic digester and then where our proprietary technology comes in is attacking that ammonia that comes out of that digester,” Scott said. “The ammonia is the real value driver here.”

Bion has already used the process for the hog, poultry, and dairy industries.

“The animals are healthier,” Scott said. “They're happier. They produce better.”

The barns will help contain the ammonia rather than having it evaporate outdoors.

“It is a business opportunity, but it's also making further steps towards us being better stewards of the land,” Stovall said.