Corn stalks, distiller’s grains, oat hulls, bean straw, offal, manure, seed chaff …

They are not waste products anymore. And don’t just call them byproducts. The new industry term is “coproducts”— refuse turned into an amazing variety of valuable commercial goods.

There is strong interest in finding uses for what was once considered worthless agricultural waste, says Al Doering, manager of AURI’s coproducts lab in Waseca. Growers, commodity groups, entrepreneurs and manufacturers have come to see the off-shoots of ag production and processing as desirable raw materials with profit potential, he says.

Emerging uses for crop residues, animal waste and other materials include biofuels, feeds and polymers, Doering says. AURI is a state leader in coproduct development, focusing especially on processing and handling challenges. “There are very few facilities like ours around the country, where entrepreneurs can do pelleting and other experimental work on coproducts,” Doering says.

Sources:

Agricultural Utilization Research Institute

American Coalition for Ethanol

Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Department

Minnesota Agri-Growth Council

Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Minnesota Farm and Food Coalition

National Biodiesel Board

University of Minnesota