Direct treatment of livestock waste, while it is still concentrated and before it has a chance to contaminate downstream ecosystems, can save U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars in annual costs to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basin, and in the many smaller watersheds where excess nutrients are an issue. Moreover, the low-cost improvements available at our largest livestock production facilities represent high-impact solutions that can help speed the recovery of these watersheds.
A 2014 study by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, The Economic Benefits of Cleaning Up the Chesapeake Bay, estimated the value of the land and waters of the Bay region, prior to implementation of the 2010 TMDL, at $107.2 billion annually. Further, the study estimated that a cleaned-up Bay would be valued at $129.7 billion annually. Comparable or larger numbers could be expected for the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basin/ Gulf of Mexico.
A new national strategy that adequately addresses all of the pollution sources in a watershed will greatly improve water quality and ecosystem health throughout the watershed, accelerate cleanup efforts, and dramatically reduce costs.
The Bay’s declining grass beds are a bellwether of its health and provide critical habitat for the iconic blue crab and several species of fish. Improved water quality will allow the beds to return to historic levels.
Bringing sustainability to the livestock sector represents a win for the environment, the consumer and the industry itself. The industry is under attack for its environmental impacts from a wide range of detractors and competitors. Cleanup is inevitable, but complicated; the industry is not regulated under the Clean Water Act and its margins are thin.
Bion’s technology platform provides low-cost high-impact solutions to the industry’s environmental and public health issues AND delivers substantially better efficiencies and economics simultaneously. In other words, the benefits/ value from treatment, more than offset the cost. That is the key: how to pay for cleanup. The industry has to clean up. An increasing circle of stakeholders understand this need, as well: federal and state policies are evolving to encourage and fund livestock waste cleanup. Many in the industry are ready to be engaged and support these changes.
Bion is a recognized leader in both technology and policy development in this transformation and stands to be a central player as it unfolds. Bion’s 3G technology was designed to not only clean up the environmental impacts of large-scale livestock production and recover high-value coproducts and renewable energy that increase revenues to the farmer, but also to deliver a USDA-certified sustainable product to the consumer. Bion’s 3G tech platform can provide a pathway to true economic and environmental sustainability with ‘win-win’ benefits for at least a premium sector of the $175 billion U.S. livestock industry, its consumers, and the environment.
Treating livestock waste at its source promotes environmental health throughout the watershed and generates a wide range of benefits to local ecosystems and communities that cannot be achieved through more difficult and dilute downstream treatment.