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CooperRiis, ag center turn food waste into animal feed

Demonstration June 6, 2 p.m.
The Farm at CooperRiis has for the past year been turning food waste into animal feed, using three bioconversion units – ESR International BioPods – purchased last year with a grant from the Paul Culberson Agricultural Development Fund at the Polk County Community Foundation.
On June 6 at 2 p.m., CooperRiis and the Mill Spring Agricultural Center will join to demonstrate the BioPod process for local farmers and householders interested in efficient composting systems and the production of animal feed.
The BioPod system used by CooperRiis is a highly-efficient composting system on two fronts, says CooperRiis Farm Manager Mike Odle.
First, the system uses naturally occurring soldier flies capable of breaking down food scraps – such as greasy foods  – typically thrown away as too taxing for most composting systems, he said.
Secondly, the BioPod system harvests the soldier flies’ grubs or larva. The grubs are suitable for feeding poultry, fishponds, songbirds, hogs and other animals.
“If we can find ways to use local materials – our own table scraps – to supplement and decrease our dependence on grains imported from other states and countries, we can feed a decent size flock of birds using the capacity of our own land to grow the grain that would round out that diet,” Odle said.
CooperRiis, a healing community in Mill Spring which practices local sustainability and organic food production, keeps about 100 chickens to produce eggs for its dining hall, and now feeds them grubs as a staple in their diet.
“What we have learned using the BioPods this past year will be offered as a demonstration project for the entire Polk County agricultural community,” Odle said.
Polk County Agricultural Economic Development Director Lynne Sprague will also speak about the possible applications of this system.
All interested parties are invited to the 30-minute presentation at CooperRiis’ farm on Healing Farm Lane. The farm is located just off Hwy. 108, about a quarter-mile east of the Mill Spring crossroads with Hwy. 9.
Signs will be posted at the entrance of the farm to guide visitors to the demonstration site.
– article submitted
by Jeff Byrd