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A True Closed-Loop System

Since it began as an idea, with the very first Earth Day in 1970, sustainability has become an urgent worldwide pursuit. One not easily mastered.

Here, after years of determination and resourcefulness, it’s become a reality, as we’ve transformed our farm and livestock operation—the biggest in the state of Indiana—into a true, zero-waste, closed-loop cycle that optimizes every byproduct.

Click the icons to explore each step in the amazing process.

Field Application

The fertilizer is land applied on nearby corn and soybean fields, where it consistently outperforms commercial fertilizers, in large part because of its micronutrient profile.

Further, this practice effectively returns to the soil the kind of invaluable building blocks—nutrients like sulfur, magnesium, zinc and other essential minerals—that, over the last 50 years, have been slowly and methodically stripped away by production agriculture.

Natural Fertilizer Production & Water Recycling

The slurry product coming out of the digester is processed by a mechanized separator.

It extracts a high-value natural solid that integrates with the farm’s onsite composting operation to yield a certified-organic, nutrient-dense fertilizer.

The water left over from this extraction is recirculated back to the digester to dilute the incoming waste material.

Power Gen & RNG

The farm turns the combustible gas from its anaerobic digestion phase into a true renewable energy that gets delivered to the Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) in two different capacities.

Some of the gas is pumped to the farm’s engine room, where it’s burned to run a series of generators that reliably upload five megawatts of clean power to NIPSCO’s electricity grid.

The rest is fed into NIPSCO’s natural gas pipelines. The related Environmental Attributes (EAs) of this renewable natural gas (RNG) are then marketed to the transportation industry in California through the farm’s BioTown BioGas joint venture with a green-energy investment firm.

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Anaerobic Digestion

The food byproduct (that doesn’t supplement the livestock feed) and dairy manure, all brought onsite at the Material Receiving phase, are mingled with the farm’s own livestock waste and directed into a series of on-site fuel factories called anaerobic digesters.

Inside these airtight vessels, live bacteria break down all this biodegradable waste. In the process, they release a natural, combustible gas, while leaving behind an organic, nutrient-rich, slurry product.

Livestock Production

As part of a high-quality feed program for its cattle and swine, the farm mixes select incoming food byproduct material with its harvested silage and forage crops.

This all-natural, proprietary diet is a key component in the production of the farm’s Legacy Maker™ brand of USDA prime beef and pork sold into retail and foodservice.

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Material Receiving

The farm routinely brings in two different types of waste material from sources throughout the Midwest—all of it material that would otherwise go to landfills.

One waste source is a food-grade byproduct left over from food manufacturers, grocery stores and other similar commercial operations. The other is manure waste, hauled in from dairy producers across the region.

Some of the food is routed to the livestock, while the rest, along with the dairy manure, goes straight to the Anerobic Digestion phase in the cycle.

Forage Crop Production

Farm workers grow and harvest the silage and forage crops fed by the cycle’s fertilizer material. They then mix the harvest in with incoming byproduct from corporate food companies.

This all-natural, nutrient intense diet is then fed to the livestock.

Click the icons to explore each step in the amazing process.

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Get a more encompassing narrative on the process, and all that surrounds it.