Technology Evaluations and Research Initiatives
Newtrient conducts comprehensive evaluations and research on innovative technologies and practices that reduce the environmental footprint of dairy farms. Technology evaluations are conducted via third-party review to analyze and report on the practicality and environmental implications of these technologies when implemented on farms. Through strategic collaborations and innovative research, Newtrient is dedicated to driving change across the dairy industry. On this page, explore our transformative projects, supported by an array of public and private grants. From technology evaluations to sustainable water quality solutions and market-driven initiatives, our mission remains solid: to reduce the environmental footprint of dairy farms in an economically viable manner, thereby cultivating a sustainable future for the industry.
Below is a list of active grant-funded projects.
Dairy Soil and Water Regeneration Project
Newtrient, in collaboration with Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) and other Dairy Net Zero Initiative partners, is an active participant in the DSWR Modeling Committee and accountable for socializing the learnings across the dairy community to educate farmers, researchers, dairy companies, non-governmental organizations, consumers, and thought-leaders. The project will be executed across four dairy regions responsible for about 80 percent of U.S. milk production: Northeast, Lakes, Mountain, and Pacific.
This project is funded by the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy through a six-year, $10M research initiative, in collaboration with leading dairy research institutions. The purpose of the Dairy Soil & Water Regeneration (DSWR) project, is to support dairy farmers as they look to further improve soil health and water quality, increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through dairy feed production, and help advance U.S. dairy toward its collective 2050 environmental stewardship goals.
Feed in Focus
The Dairy Feed in Focus initiative is a joint endeavor led by Syngenta in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the Dairy Net Zero Initiative, of which Newtrient is a collaborating partner. The overarching objective is to craft a comprehensive blueprint of optimal agronomic and farm management practices. These practices will be complemented by digital tools designed for replication and scalability across dairy farms of all sizes in the United States. This approach seeks to elevate productivity while minimizing environmental impact.
Evaluating Environmental and Economic Benefits of Nitrogen Conservation through the N2 Applied Technology
Through a 15-week study funded by the New York Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI), Newtrient has been selected to evaluate N2 Applied, a novel and innovative technology aimed at aiding dairy farmers in the efficient management and utilization of manure resources. Tailored for small farms, this technology taps into the potential of air and electricity to convert liquid manure into sustainable fertilizer. In collaboration with Cornell University, Newtrient is evaluating the efficacy of the N2 Applied system in terms of ammonia and nitrates retention, preservation of usable nutrients (including phosphorus), and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions during manure storage.
Dairy Manure Treatment Innovations – Enhancing Water Quality and Sustainability
One of the major challenges in scaling innovative technology solutions is the limited access to technical, third-party evaluations. In 2020, Newtrient received an NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) of nearly $700k to conduct a three-year nationwide evaluation of 15 technology systems and practices. The objective of the project is to stimulate the adoption of effective technologies and practices. The focus of the evaluations is to assess the technologies’ capacity to improve water quality, optimize manure utilization, and identify new opportunities for market-ready products. The evaluation methodology was developed in collaboration with NRCS to potentially establish a process that would increase accessibility to Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding for new, innovative technologies under Practice Standard 629. Newtrient, in collaboration with Washington State University (WSU) and the University of Vermont (UVM), created a standardized protocol to meet NRCS Conservation Practice Standard 629 requirements and offer the necessary data and structure for a thorough NRCS review.
Below is a list of completed grant-funded projects.
Designing a Market-based Solution to Clean Water through a Clearinghouse Approach
Completed in 2022
During the 2020 legislative session, Wisconsin Act 151 was passed, introducing a novel avenue for the purchase and sale of water quality credits or offsets via a specialized Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse would host the marketplace; generators (sellers) of water pollution avoidance credits would sell these credits to the Clearinghouse, which would in turn transact the sale of qualifying credits to interested buyers. The result is a streamlined process that brings certainty and accessibility to participants, including farms and municipalities. This 2-year project was funded by the Dairy Research Institute as a part of a grant from the EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The purpose of this project was to identify the best practices and recommendations for the design of a sustainable water quality marketplace Clearinghouse. Newtrient completed a comprehensive report that outlined key recommendations and best practices to serve as a blueprint for designing a state-level, market-driven Clearinghouse, effectively moving sustainable water quality practices forward.
Advancement of Farm-PREP Model for Quantifying Phosphorus Reductions to Inform Markets
Completed in 2020
This project was funded by the Lake Champlain Basin Program. The purpose of this project was to advance an APEX model, known as Farm-PREP, that has the ability to quantify reductions in phosphorus to improve water quality. Newtrient undertook the task of fine-tuning and validating the model to account for both surface and tile-based phosphorus transport. Newtrient’s efforts then transitioned to the evaluation of how conservation practices and innovative manure management technologies influenced phosphorus losses across both surface and tile processes. The Lake Champlain Basin Program collaborated with other project partners, such as Stone Environmental, with diverse expertise to develop Farm-PREP as both a practical and credible tool. View the full project report here.
Environmental Marketplace Design to Support Sustainable Nutrient-Reduction Programs
Completed in 2020
This 2-year project was funded by the NRCS Cooperative Agreement award. The purpose of this project was to advance environmental marketplace solutions to improve water quality through the expansion of market-based approached tools in key areas of water quality concerns in Vermont and Wisconsin. View the project summary here.
Development of Phosphorus Protocols for Ecosystem Service Markets in Vermont
Completed in 2019
This project was funded by Vermont’s Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets. The purpose of this project was to develop a protocol to quantify, verify, and certify practices and/or technologies that have the ability to reduce phosphorus contents in Lake Champlain. Newtrient partnered with Kieser & Associates, LLC to successfully finalize the protocol, paving the way for the potential implementation of a payment for ecosystem services model or market-based approach which was under discussion within the state. With implementation, Newtrient’s calculations indicated that there was a potential annual cost savings of $100 million for the state. Moreover, this implementation could also introduce a new stream of revenue for dairy farmers and the agriculture sector, projected to range from $10 million to $25 million per year. View the developed protocol here.
Manure-Based Product Market Assessment in California
Completed in 2019
Funded by the California Dairy Research Foundation, Newtrient collaborated with branding and market research firms to conduct a comprehensive market analysis and provide recommendations aimed at boosting the utilization and market presence of manure and manure-based products. This strategic initiative yielded valuable insights into aspects such as nutrient concentration, product forms, and value, all of which contribute to identifying avenues for the creation of new markets for manure-based products, not only in California but also extending beyond its borders.