Marshall, Minn.—Southern Minnesota agricultural coproducts may soon be used to help the less fortunate grow their own food.
Marshall, Minnesota agronomist Mark Altman was approached by a humanitarian organization based in Canada to develop a natural fertilizer for distribution to low income people in the United States and Canada. The garden fertilizer will be provided to help disadvantaged people grow their own food.
“This effort has people’s best interest at heart,” Altman says. “As far as self sufficiency goes, one of the easiest things people can do is grow their own food.”
Altman worked with Alan Doering at the AURI coproduct utilization lab in Waseca to develop the granular fertilizer that contains locally-produced ingredients such as alfalfa meal, feather meal, distillers dried grains, chicken litter and beet molasses. Doering pelleted and crumbled several blends which Altman tested in growth chambers with good results.
“The blends are good quality, have good nutrient availability and favorable economics,” Doering says. “Best of all, the ingredients are all available locally so the economic activity and jobs stay local.”
AURI also connected Altman with a processor in Southwestern Minnesota that will manufacture, bag and make the initial shipment of an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 bags of garden fertilizer.