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2003 Ag Innovator of the Year: Mississippi Topsoils

What’s better than turning a sow’s ear into a silk purse? How about turning chicken processing plant waste into rich garden soil?

Mississippi Topsoils, located in Cold Spring, Minnesota, takes the protein-filled waste—a substance called secondary activated biosolids—from GNP Company, makers of Gold’n Plump Chicken, and turns it into a consistent, high-performing soil amendment marketed under the trade name “Soil Essentials.”

“The innovation in our approach comes in the use of a non-traditional method of composting, called an in-vessel containerized compost system,” says Brad Matuska, who founded the company with Math Miller. Each year, Mississippi Topsoils makes 3,000 cubic yards of Soil Essentials.

“The biosolids proteins from the chicken plant are of an extremely high quality,” Matuska says. “To take concentrated centers of organic waste materials and make it into a value-added product just makes a lot of sense.”