The Yield Lab Institute Announces Manure Challenge Sponsors and Industry Advisors

The Yield Lab Institute has announced the addition of a number of diverse advisors to the Manure Challenge, as well as a successful application cycle.

The Manure Challenge is organized by Yield Lab Institute with guidance from World Wildlife Fund, Newtrient, and the Dairy Farmers of America—brings. The Manure Challenge has announced the addition of the following organizations as sponsors to their efforts: Cargill, The Maschhoffs, and WeWork FoodLabs.

The advisory and mentorship network for the Manure Challenge will be supported by:

  • Joseph Ziobro with the U.S. E.P.A.
  • Rod Larkins with AURI (Agricultural Utilization Research Institute)
  • Kraig Westerbeek with Smithfield, Jonathan Hua with Thrive Accelerator
  • Aaron Ratner with Ultra Capital LLC
  • Evan Fraser with the Arrell Food Institute
  • Ben Gaddy with the Clean Energy Trust
  • Fidan Karimova with the Water Research Foundation

Together they bring expertise of many eminent public, for profit, and non-for-profit leaders from a wide variety of backgrounds to support interest and investment in the manure management sector.

“We are excited to team up with The Yield Lab Institute on the Manure Challenge to help drive innovation and spur investment to address this critical challenge.” Heather Tansey, sustainability lead for Cargill’s global animal nutrition and protein groups. “Together we can deliver meaningful solutions that improve productivity and profitability while minimizing our environmental footprint.”

A total of 63 applications were collected in May; those applications are now in review by a committee of advisors drawn from stakeholders, experts, and partners to evaluate the potential impact and scope of each applicant’s offering. In late August, 6-10 companies will be selected to participate in the challenge.

Programming for the selected companies will kick off in early September in Manhattan, Kansas, adjacent to the annual meeting of the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock.

The challenge will support selected companies in commercializing their products through mentorship, commercial strategy guidance, and network access over the course of six months. Upon conclusion the programming phase, the selected companies will compete in a pitch competition for a cash prize.

Aaron Ratner, Managing Director for Ultra Capital LLC explained the industry goals behind the challenge in a press release.

“Innovative financing mechanisms and technologies are bringing industrial-scale solutions to commercial livestock manure management. These circular economy strategies, which efficiently upcycle otherwise wasted energy and potentially environmentally harmful nutrients, will support an industry-wide transition to a more sustainable and profitable business model.”

One advisor and the Director of Dairy at the World Wildlife Fund, Sandra Vijn, outlines the importance of the manure challenge, “WWF’s goal is to drive sustainable food systems to conserve nature and feed humanity. Closing nutrient loops on farms can help reduce environmental impacts. More innovation, research, development and investment is needed to advance manure management solutions.”

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