Converting Chicken Waste into a Renewable Nitrogen Source w/ Paul Hardy
Interview with Paul Hardy, President of Rembrandt Foods
We look at the role of raw chicken manure in organic farming, with special guest Paul Hardy. Paul is the President of Rembrandt Foods, one of the world’s largest egg-producing and further processing facilities.
Learn more about Rembrandt Foods: www.rembrandtfoods.com
INTRO: Welcome to Organics Unpacked, a podcast for the business-minded organic grower — an interview podcast where we hear from the top experts in the commercial organic industry, with a focus on the business elements of organic growing both in and out of the field. You will gain insight and grow your operation. This show is brought to you ad-free by Avé Organics, a Wilbur-Ellis company. To learn more about Avé Organics, visit our program notes. In the meantime, enjoy the show.
TOM: Hello, everyone. Thank you for tuning in today. Welcome to a new episode of Organics Unpacked, a podcast where we discuss organic farming from a practical view. I’m your host, Tom Buman. Today’s guest is Paul Hardy from Rembrandt Enterprises, where he is the president. Paul is here to share some information on a topic that’s very near and dear to a lot of organic growers. Today’s topic is the brokering of raw chicken manure, specifically layer hens. Paul’s joining us from the great state of Iowa. Welcome to the show, Paul.
PAUL: Hi, Tom. Thank you.
TOM: So, Paul, before we kind of jump into it, I’m always interested in people’s background. What got you to this point in your career?
PAUL: So I’m a Florida boy from a consumer goods background, and I started my career in operations, logistics, supply chain kind of projects and moved into more overarching planning and then FP&A and integrated business planning. Before, I took a leap of faith into more commercial ventures and had a couple tours of duty with Conagra foods, one on the supply chain side, and then I was in business development for their international business for about seven years. That’s what brought me to Rembrandt, where I came to help set up an international trading platform and broaden the reach of our dried egg ingredient products going around the world. That was in August of 2017. Since then, I have just taken on more responsibility at the company until, eventually, in July of 2019, I took on the presidential duties with Farm Nutrients and Rembrandt, the two sister companies.
TOM: Great. Tell me about Rembrandt Foods and then the sister partnership with Farm Nutrients. Give me a little background on the companies there and what you do.
PAUL: Yeah. So Rembrandt is an egg production and processing company. We have about 8 million egg-laying chickens. We call them layers, and we, at one point, were a bigger producer. We’ve scaled back our operation to right-size to the market that we’re trying to target, which is food ingredients space. So we’ve got a plant in Rembrandt, Iowa and another cage-free facility in Thompson, Iowa. Then, we’ve got some offline growers and a number of pullet farms that we’re responsible for. The pullets are the 1‑day-old to 17-weeks-old birds before they come into our layer houses. And Farm Nutrients was really the business. Sorry to jump in there, Tom, but that was really the business that was born out of the fertilizer that we produce every day. The site at Rembrandt, for example, has almost 6 million layers. We produce anywhere from, depending on the moisture level, 120,000 to 200,000 tons of chicken litter every year that needs to be moved and, over the years, really developed a relationship with the local growing community and found that there was a lot of value in the chicken litter as a fertilizer as a strong source of nitrogen.
TOM: So, then, Farm Nutrients is kind of the arm of the company that takes care of the raw manure, then gets it brokered out and delivered. Is that fair to say?
PAUL: Correct. Yep. They are a fertilizer-sourcing distribution company and a service organization for growers. We have agronomists as part of our team, and we really do the needs and the inputs for each grower quickly.
TOM: So, Paul, I’ve heard that, coming in the upper Midwest, as high as 80% of all organic farmers are using chicken manure. I don’t have any way of validating that, but how do you feel the split of your raw chicken manure that’s going out? How is it split between organic growers and more commercial, or traditional, growers?
PAUL: Having our majority of our presence in Iowa, we are probably under-indexed on organic growers. I would say less than 10% of our total volume that we move is to organic farms, but it’s where we see the most growth. It’s also the projects that we’re working on, like the one we’re engaged with ReNewTrient and Avé Organics on, is all about taking that raw material and adding value to it further to support more transportation, to get it out to the organic growers and meet them where they need to be met, as well as innovate on the delivery vehicle of those nutrients.
TOM: So, as I said, I’ve heard that a large percent of organic growers end up using chicken manure of some form, often raw chicken manure. How does chicken manure compare to other animal manures out there that organic growers might use? I mean, obviously, it’s a preference, but what is it about chicken manure that makes it special for organic growers?
PAUL: Yeah, I think there’s, first of all, the need to differentiate between layer manure and poultry manure, which typically comes with a lot more bedding. The style of raising those birds and housing those birds is very different from the broiler chicken to the egg-laying chicken. So layer manure tends to be a lot cleaner, free of other foreign materials and a little bit more pure of a source. So, in Iowa, for example, we have about 60 million egg-laying chickens, and it’s the highest concentration of layers in the country. So there’s a lot of raw material coming from those birds. But those numbers are kind of shrinking recently as the population of conventional aviary systems continues to shrink. That’s where you have about 60 inches squared per bird and moving toward the cage-free aviary system, which is about 144 inches squared per bird.
TOM: So is that something that your company is migrating to, more of the cage free? Or are you kind of set where you’re at?
PAUL: We’re balancing with our demand, so our customer base. When you use ingredients to make other products, there’s a little less pressure, I guess, from the branding side to say, hey, we need to have cage-free eggs on our label because it’s one of many ingredients in that product versus an egg patty or a retail dozen of eggs. So the cage-free growth is mainly at retail, and we don’t really participate in that retail business. So, for us, we feel pretty confident that our business model is going to be stable for a while, and we’ll match our customer demand for cage-free with our inline supply.
TOM: So is that kind of the COVID syndrome? Has that impacted the numbers of layers? I mean, I understand that the number of layers, especially in Iowa, has dropped pretty dramatically in the last year.
PAUL: Yeah. Personally, at Farm Nutrients, we saw about 40% of the volume that we had last year that we won’t have going into this year. Two drivers of that: the first biggest driver was the adjustment for COVID. The food service industry is served pretty heavily out of some of these large farms, supporting companies like Michael Foods and Deb El and others that are packaging eggs in different formats for QSRs, quick serve restaurants and that food service channel. So they took a pretty direct hit. We were exiting most of that market by the time COVID came around. So it really didn’t change our plans. It, maybe, expedited them a bit, but we didn’t have to adjust too much internally in terms of where we were trying to go. The other factor there is moisture. So, of the last three-and-a-half, four years that I’ve been living in Iowa, this past year was, by far, the driest. You saw a pretty direct 10 to 20%, depending on the source of manure, change in volume. I think what we’ve been adjusting, in terms of the way we engage with growers, is trying to meet them with a familiar input kind of conversation and shifting to more delivered and applied costs of nutrients per pound on their fields versus the old school method of selling fertilizer. It’s brown, and it smells bad, and here’s your price. We’re trying to be a little bit more sophisticated with the way that we approach that market.
TOM: The way I hear you say it is that you’ve reduced the moisture content of the manure. So you have less of it, but it’s likely more concentrated in nutrients, right?
PAUL: It absolutely is. That’s the message, the story that we’re trying to tell our growers with some very, very simple tools and how we price based on those nutrients, the nutrient value applied to their field. And that is more familiar, I think, that conversation, in terms of commercial fertilizer options. And it’s also a way for us to be more predictable and have more accountability internally as we approach this very much as a service organization. So we were doing a lot more sampling of manure in the past. It was a pretty loose exercise. There were some minimum amounts you had the sample to qualify, and we would apply that analysis to an entire year of volume that we would end up spreading. And it was difficult for our sales team to be really consistent with their growers and have confidence that they were delivering what they had sold them. So what happens, then, is you kind of erode trust on both sides. Our sales team is trying to do a good job. They’ve only got the tools that they’ve got to communicate to those growers. And when you’re kind of once bitten, twice shy, what happened is we really ended up eroding our own values because no one wanted to over-commit. So we were always kind of hedging down on our analysis. So what we’ve done is moved to a program where we’re sampling on a weekly basis, and we’ve drawn some correlations that are pretty direct, with thousands of points of data between moisture levels and the nutrient concentration between nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. So we’ve got some curves that we’ve generated that we can pretty much predict, within plus or minus 10%, where that nutrient level is going to be. Then, if they’re big volumes, we might double-check that work. But we are also testing the full analysis on a monthly basis at every site, which is something we never used to do.
TOM: Yeah. As a producer, I would think if I were putting on two tons of manure, I’d much rather have a high-nutrient value and a low-water content. Number one, why am I going to pay that transportation cost on water when it’s just water. Not very much adds up in tonnage. So it seems to me that what you’re doing is a real service. How does the farmer that’s getting the manure, how does the transportation costs work?
PAUL: Yep. So they pay for the hauling. We have rates that are, by zone, pretty typical. And everybody benefits from dryer manure. Anytime we can take water out of the logistics equation, it’s good for everyone involved and the planet. That’s a big part of Rembrandt. I mean, the entire origin story of Rembrandt was our founder looking on a map and finding the point in Iowa that was the most distant from a major rail head or major highway, so that we would really be tied in with the local growing community and benefit from the basis that we could purchase grain because that’s about 65% of our cost of an egg. And also to have a place to take those nutrients, from the fertilizer perspective, back to the field and complete the circle. And because of the presence that Farm Nutrients has, we’ve done some high-level analysis. I won’t say we’ll put it on claims on any packaging or anything, but we feel like we are about a 0 to 2% total waste, from a carbon perspective, company, with the amount of energy we put into the birds and the amount of nutrients that we return back to the soil.
TOM: I think that’s a nice, really good measuring stick these days. It’s kind of how close you are to carbon neutral. Obviously, anytime we’re working with manure and returning organic matter to the soil, we’re getting much more close to that. There’s a lot of interest in storing carbon in the soil, and, certainly, manure is a way of doing it.
PAUL: Yeah, and I think we still have a lot to learn there, Tom. I’m looking forward to our engagement.
TOM: Well, there is a lot to learn for all of us. I mean, even those of us that have been in the market for many years. There’s a lot to learn. So let’s talk about it. You mentioned before the number of tons that you market of raw chicken manure. What is that again?
PAUL: Last year, we hauled and spread about 780,000 tons of chicken litter. And this year, we are going to be responsible for about 550,000 tons in total, 100 to 150,000 of which will go to the Clarion processing plant to create the liquid nitrogen product and the dried granular fertilizer.
TOM: So, if I’m in the market of buying chicken dinner for my organic farm, I am facing a situation where there are declining resources. Is that fair to say? I know that some of it is just loss of water. We still have the same nutrient content, which is a good thing. But if you’re lowering your numbers, and there’s just less layer manure out there, I assume, from supply and demand, that’s affecting your cost of manure, too.
PAUL: Yeah. There are two things that are kind of in the favor of the fertilizer values, and these things ebb and flow. I don’t look at it as something that we’re just winning on because we’ve got grower customers that we’re trying to service. Really, what Farm Nutrients wants to do is be that service provider, make a steady margin on that business for the service that we are providing. But, obviously, supply and demand has an effect on it. When there are limited resources available, then the value is going to go up. That, coupled with the prices of corn and soybean recently, we feel like this year, fertilizer prices are going to be much higher in Iowa. They’ve been much lower, and we’ve participated in that market, as well, pretty fully. So we’re looking forward to relieving some of that pressure. We’re also trying to have very balanced conversations with our growing community and making sure that we’re building these relationships for the long term, not just for one cycle here.
TOM: Now, I don’t know if you said it, but how long has Farm Nutrients been in the business, and how long have you been moving that level of manure? I mean, is it five years, 10 years, 20 years?
PAUL: I pride myself on understanding history at places that I work in. Now, I’m upset with myself because I don’t know the exact date, but I want to say that Farm Nutrients really was born as Rembrandt came online. It was just in the form of any other layer company, any other egg producer. They’ve got to solve for their manure. They have to take it somewhere, and, typically, that is going out to the growing community. So that’s 20 years, when Rembrandt was started. Farm Nutrients, I know, for sure, is at least 10 years old. It originated with a guy called Scott Wicks. He and Dave Rettig, our founder, worked together on a plan there, and they were doing all of the grain purchasing, as well as the fertilizer sales. So it was kind of a symbiotic relationship with the growers, and that’s something we’re trying to return to a little bit here.
TOM: Well, it seems to me that you have some real longevity with some customers, then. I mean, even over 10 years, that’s some real longevity. Do you tend to work with the same customers year after year, or maybe if they’re in a corn-bean rotation every other year? What is your relationship over time with your typical grower?
PAUL: For our sites that we own, we really want to turn over the same relationships, and a lot of the growers have options. So we’re engaged with them on some level every year. It definitely varies as they rotate. But I think the opportunity that we see with this granular and liquid product is really to extend that reach and start to understand how people would interact with this product outside of Iowa. Like I said, with 62 million egg-laying chickens at our peak last year, before COVID hit, there were a lot of supply options within Iowa, and we were one of those. We were the majority of that. We represent, other than our egg-producing competitors, the customers that we service from a supply side on Farm Nutrients. So it’s an interesting relationship, but one that you only build with a lot of trust and a high level of service. I think we had lost our way a little bit on some of that as Farm Nutrients was stretching into other spaces. But we actually just closed the retail agronomy business that, I think, will allow Farm Nutrients to get back to its roots and really focus on what they do well.
TOM: I have heard from a couple of farmers, Paul, that you guys really are kind of trying to refocus in the last year or two. Like you said, maybe you lost your way for a little while, but I think some of those customers might be interested in coming back and seeing what you have.
PAUL: Yeah. Look, Glen Taylor is our owner, and he’s an explorer. I mean, Glen is an investor. I’ve never left a board meeting where he’s not challenging our commercial leadership to say, what’s next? I know you’ve got issues. I know you’re working on things, but tell me what’s down the road, and who are the big customers you’re working with? He loves talking about partnership and investing in rural communities across the Midwest. That’s a big fundamental principle for Taylor Corporation, and the fund that we’re a part of is GAT Farms, growing out of Taylor Farms. That holding company is really focused on, I think, Rembrandt, helping to kind of be the backbone for some of the shared services and center of excellence but with an eye towards investing in companies in these rural communities that we can plug in and help to make more consistent. Offer them resources that they may have not had before and kind of be better together. So that’s my hope for Rembrandt and its role in that space with Glen.
TOM: Great. Now, getting back to the nuts and bolts of manure, an interest I have is when you start hauling manure. Now, granted, the cost is paid by the farmer getting the manure, right? How far can you typically haul? What’s the furthest you haul manure, on average? How far do you really kind of focus on, out from your facilities, as far as contacting farmers and getting in touch?
PAUL: I think, because of the volume that we were responsible for, our reach had gotten out there farther than we wanted. We’d like to stay within 30 miles or so. That’s our real goal from each site. If we keep it dialed in, too, because there is enough of a need out there within 20 miles, that would be our wishlist because, after you get past zone three or four, things start to get a little bit stretched in terms of the total costs. You’re moving a lot of moisture a long way. So that’s where we’ve really invested in our management of the manure on each site and the manipulation of it to expose it to the air and turn it and try to compost it a little bit, if we have that option on the site. But anything we can do to help it dry out a little bit and potentially heat up a little bit, then we are putting a lot more energy into those exercises, so that we’re not transporting as much water across the state.
TOM: I would assume that zone gets a little bigger if you’re an organic farmer and your access to organic fertilizer is more limited. I’d assume that 30 miles stretches maybe into 60 miles.
PAUL: Yeah, absolutely, especially up near the southern border of Minnesota, where there are a few more organic farms. We saw our Thompson site, which is just across the border there in Iowa, would have, on average, a lot further reach per ton than we would out of Rembrandt, where there are not as many organic farms nearby.
TOM: So, as you look out over the next couple years, Paul, what are the things that you want to do with that raw manure? It could be value added, but just to make it worth more, not only for yourself but for those local farmers. What are some ways that you’re beginning to think about working with all that raw manure?
PAUL: I think everything that I approach is about how do I add value? How does this company add value to this product? That can come in a lot of different ways. Innovation happens in the way we do business, the way we invoice people, the way we track things, what kind of service we’re providing. So we’re constantly challenging our team right now to think of how we do not just evolve, because we have been downsizing slightly, to kind of focus and concentrate on what our core business is. How do we, as we do that, add flexibility, add options to the growers and to our sales team? I talk about having more bullets in the gun all the time. You need the ammunition to go out there and actually be effective when you’re negotiating, when you’re trying to find the right fit for that customer. That’s all we’re really trying to do. We’re trying to meet them where they need to be met, with the products that they have a need for and at the right value, to be competitive, to be consistent and predictable and deliver what we say we’re going to deliver. So to do that, I think our focus, and why this project with ReNewTrient has been so exciting, is it’s a lot more standardized of a product. It’s a lot more controllable. That way, we’ve taken a lot of moisture out of it. So it really fits with our core, in terms of sustainability, and it allows for us to have a very committed analysis that we can take out to market and take it further. That’s exciting. So, one day, I see Farm Nutrients having, from end to end, you would start with raw manure, moving into compost to a granular product to a pelleted product to a liquid product and then varieties off of that. We feel like we can add value to that grower. So they’re touching their field less. They’re getting the inputs they need, the best cost of application, things like that. That’s where we’re trying to spend time.
TOM: Do you see yourself moving away from just the raw manure in itself and going more towards the pellets and kind of the value added, or do you always see that you would have kind of a source of raw manure for local farms?
PAUL: There are 330 egg-laying chickens in the United States, 330 million. There is basically an egg-laying chicken for every person since the beginning of the colonization of the United States. To give perspective on how consolidated that has gotten, in the fifties, there were 500,000 egg farmers. Now, there’s really a top 10 that control a significant portion of the eggs that are produced in the country. So, as that’s happening and you’re getting this concentration of layers in one site versus being spread across the country, where it was more backyard farms and things like that, obviously, there are a lot more controls in place, which puts some barriers to entry for people being egg farmers. There’s just a scale of production that, if you don’t have, it’s pretty hard to be competitive at this point. So the reason I mention all that is I think that the value of further processing the manure and drying it when you have that type of scale coming into the system changes the whole equation for these layer companies, to have a site that can do that and help to add value to your raw manure. As we refine the technology and we can scale it a little better to meet the size of the layer site, where they need to be met, then I think that this is the future. I think having the granular, pellet, liquid options for application, that there’s real value in it for both sides. That’s what we’re going to continue to pursue internally, and I think there’s a big market for it across the industry.
TOM: One of the things we know, with some of the large livestock facilities, is we need to move that manure further away from the facility. So, by kind of having a product that moves better, faster, cheaper, I think that’s one of the great goals of further processing some of that manure. But I wanted to ask you, Paul, what are some services that Farm Nutrients provides? Hauling? Trucking? Application? Testing? I mean, I don’t know what they are, but what are some of the things that Farm Nutrients can do for a farmer to provide more benefit?
PAUL: Farm Nutrients really starts with the grower. Sitting there at their kitchen table, what I’ve found, is typically the routine when you show up. We do offer soil analysis. Growers, a lot of times, have their own agronomist that they work with. But we’ll take that analysis, and we will use the commercial markets for those nutrients and show them how the delivered and applied costs would compare from a chicken litter to a commercial fertilizer option. For organic growers, I think that conversation is even simpler. We can help them to benchmark, still, to know what the value of these inputs are. I think that’s where it begins. Once we’ve done that, we tailor it to their own needs and their own capabilities. If they want end-to-end hands off, then we will set up all the hauling and the application. We’ve got some really nice spreading equipment that we’ve invested behind and partnered with regional-type spreader operations that have the equipment that we would recommend to use for chicken litter. As it is, it’s a big job. When you’re implying multiple tons per acre, you want the most efficient application process possible.
TOM: I remember the day, as a kid, spreading manure. With the old spreaders, you just got a very poor patterning. Then, you couldn’t count the manure. Then, you had to come back, and you had to supplement or almost supply a whole new rate because it just wasn’t a good enough application. But you feel really comfortable. You must feel really comfortable with your applicators and getting a good spread and covering fields.
PAUL: We put a really big focus on that. Last year, we went from 20 spreader partners that we had across just the state of Iowa, really, down to five. This year, I expect it to be even fewer with the total tons that we have. So we’ve gotten very, very critical in the right ways around who we partner with and why. They’ve got to meet a certain standard so that, when our sales team is in front of the grower, we can speak with real confidence about how that execution is going to look.
TOM: So I’m an organic grower, right? And I’m within 30 miles of you. How do I even start the process? I mean, I talk to growers who are like, I don’t even know how to start the process with Farm Nutrients. What is the first step I would take if I have some interests? Then, follow it through to the end for me of what services I could expect once I made contact with you.
PAUL: So we’ve got a team of salespeople that, if you were looking through our website, if you Googled chicken manure in Iowa, then you would find us. I think that there’s also some trade shows that we try to participate in regionally. Our sales team has some pretty deep roots in the communities that they are involved in. So they’ve got tapped in, I think, to that community pretty well. We have over 2300 customers in Iowa alone. So we feel like we’ve probably touched them all at least once. Most people know where the egg-producing facilities are. They’ve driven by it. They’ve smelled it, and they either contact the sites themselves. If they contact the site, they’ll still end up with us if we’re managing that manure. So, from there, the sales team would go out and do exactly what I said. They’d sit with them, walk through how the pricing structure works. If they have an analysis of their soil already done, we work from that. If they want it done, we’ll get that done for them. Then, we’ll make a plan. The timing matters. That’s another thing that we’re trying to be a little more disciplined about. So, really, being as flexible as we possibly can with our growers, to say, okay, there’s a window that we’re going to really lock in your volume and your price. It’s going to be as you need it. If people can take things pre-pile, we offer, sometimes, some discounts for that, just to keep our inventory managed properly. As you can imagine, when everybody’s trying to get it the day that the harvest is done, that gets backed up. There are limited resources on trucking and spreading. Those are the pinch points that we have added a lot more discipline to our system, trying to manage that. So, when we do commit to a date with a grower, we’re very confident we can hit it and that there are no surprises.
TOM: So we’re at the beginning of March. I’m looking at the growing season for 2021. I call you up, or I call up one of your salespeople. Can I get manure yet this spring?
PAUL: You can. I can tell you that most people are holding on to their litter right now. As the fertilizer markets are going up, we are trying to be disciplined about how much we’re releasing on a month-by-month basis. As you can imagine, we’re balancing a service to the sites that we pull the manure out of because, for them, they want it gone and a service to the grower who wants it at their farm at a specific time. So, right now, you will get better pricing than you’re going to get in September and going into the season, but there will be a limit to the supply.
TOM: The supplies are limited for this spring. It’s not like you just call up some day and say, bring it on because it may or may not be there.
PAUL: Right. Yep, and it’s going to be pretty much first come first serve. We’re trying to reach out to organic growers actively to make sure that they know the state of supply and demand in and around Iowa and, really, across the ag-producing industry. These past six months, there was a significant drop in the total number of layers producing in this area. So we’ve been trying to reach out and make sure we’re educating people and make a focused effort to do that because we will kind of control that inventory going into the season.
TOM: So, if I’m a commercial grower, I can hold off because I can always get commercial fertilizer. But if I’m an organic grower, and I’m counting on manure from you, I probably better be on the phone to you in the next few days or weeks to see what can happen.
PAUL: Yep. That’s the onus we’re putting on our sales team, to get out and get in front of them and make sure people are hearing it from us.
TOM: Well, Paul, I want to be mindful of your time. I really appreciate you taking the time and talking to us. I know it’s a great interest of a lot of organic growers out there. The last question I’d have is if you and a farmer were in a room together and you had two minutes to talk to him about Rembrandt and Farm Nutrients and the service that you provide. In those two minutes, what do you want to convey to this organic farmer?
PAUL: I want to convey to them that this product really works. I mean, I think that if they haven’t used it, I would ask that they speak to someone who has and has seen the benefits of not just delivering the nutrients to their soil but really conditioning the soil, getting the microbial activity, adding the organic matter. There are a lot of things that chicken litter provides that you don’t get from a commercial fertilizer and even other sources of manure. It’s the most nitrogen rich. And although it smells like it, it does go away, and it’s worth the pain because it really does seem to have an impact. I’m hearing that firsthand from growers that talk about it, especially where they’ve got hilly kind of land, and there are differentiations between different points in their acres. The variable rate that we can apply chicken litter at has allowed us to be really successful in solving specific needs for specific growers. So I would say to them, one, you don’t have to take my word for it. Go ask your neighbor who’s used it. Two, really challenge our team to get you what you want. That’s our goal. We’re preaching service throughout our company and feel like that’s the way to win for Farm Nutrients. It’s helping people to solve and connect the dots here. Then, we’d love to partner with people and collect data and help them to learn more about their own farm and help to tell the story of how chicken litter is meaningful as an input for our growers in the community. So those would be the things that I would be looking for and, obviously, a little flexibility working with livestock and raw material. Everything ebbs and flows, but we are trying to be very disciplined and professional about the way we manage our inventory, down to the fact that we have people that walk through these manure barns, and they’re taking measurements. We’re doing math on if it’s six foot high and 50 feet wide and 300 feet long, how much manure do we actually have on hand? We should treat it like a product because it has a real value. We’re doing that now and trying to provide a very professional service to these growers. So I would just ask them to keep challenging us and help us learn more about what they need and what they see and how we can be better.
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