First of its kind Ohio plant will turn manure into dry fertilizer

By Heather Hetterick, Ohio Ag Net

AG Conversions, LLC is building the first of its kind production plant that converts livestock manure into dry organic fertilizer in Mercer County.

A rendering of the Ohio Grand Lake Watershed Facility

The Ohio Grand Lake Watershed Facility will be located on St. Rt. 127 just north of St. Rt. 119. Amiran Technologies of Oak Creek, Wisconsin is the parent company of AG Conversions, LLC. The company specializes in taking physical and chemical waste that has no commercial value and breaking the bond at the fine partial level and separating it into usable products with no byproducts.

An aggressive timeline has been set for the construction project.

“We want to have fertilizer product available for row crop applications this fall. Our plan is to break ground in late April or early May and be producing product in August,“ said Paul Chadwick, Executive Vice President of Market Development for Amiran Technologies. “What that means as it relates to livestock manure is that for the first time ever, you can take raw animal manure and separate out the pathogens, e-coli, antibiotics and hormones, neutralize those, eliminate them and convert the manure into a high efficient organic fertilizer.”

The facility will custom blend fertilizers to meet specific market needs.  Some fertilizer blends will contain little to no phosphorus, since that is believed to be a contributing factor to the algae blooms in the watershed. The fertilizer will also be treated with an odor control formula.

“I’ve been working on this science since the early 1990s,” said Mohsen Amiran, founder and Chief Technology Officer of Amiran Technologies. “Our idea is to stabilize the existing phosphorus. That eliminates the need for further additional phosphate.”

They were first made aware of the phosphorus problem through a friend from the Grand Lake area. They began talks with people in the area just this past July. Chadwick acknowledged that people were skeptical of them at first, so they brought a production line to Maria Stein to prove the science.

“We’ve joined with some local partners in the area. There are a couple of LLC’s that have just been formed,” Chadwick said.

Diagram of the plant layout

Manure will be delivered by semi to the plant by Ag Trans LLC. The plant will provide 60 direct jobs and use 400,000 tons of manure a year to produce just under 600,000 tons of the dry, granular product. The enhanced organic fertilizer will be sold to farmers within about a 300-mile radius of the plant through cooperation with Innovative Ag Nutrients, LLC that is a joint partnership between AG Conversions LLC, and VanTilburg Farms, Inc. in Celina.

The site will be built in phases. The first phase will consist of construction of the manure-settling pond, the 30,000 square foot manufacturing building and the building for the dry storage of the finished product. Phase two of construction will add a 7,000 square foot visitor / research center that includes a glass corridor that looks into the manufacturing facility.

The planned visitor/research center at the plant.

In addition to using local manure, Amiran got samples of the sediment that is being dredged from Grand Lake St. Marys and developed a way to turn it into nutrient rich potting soil that can be sold to the public. The company has created a mobile unit that they plan to transport to each dredging site to reclaim the dredged sediment.

AG Conversions also working on a watershed friendly organic fertilizer that will make the phosphorus in the soil bind to the soil in a fashion where it is plant available with minimal run-off.

“It will keep phosphorus in the soil until the plants need it; staying in the bond state where it doesn’t run off,” Chadwick said.

After this plant is up, AG Conversions LLC is looking to also place plants in California, Texas and Minnesota.

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