Chariton County’s Best Kept “Green” Secret

For the last 26 years, I have frequently driven past the Hampton Feed Lot, located on Highway 11, and not given it a great deal of thought. It is just a cattle feedlot. Or is it?

 Digester Facility manager, Terry Smith, graciously extended an invitation to any interested parties at our last Chamber of Commerce meeting to tour the facility and learn a bit about this “Green Operation.”

Six of us took Terry up on her offer and visited Hampton Feedlot on Wednesday for what turned out to be a very educational tour. Hampton Alternative Energy Products, LLC (HAEP) is an impressive operation and is utilizing amazing technology. I sure wish I had paid more attention in my science classes. Even thought we had very little understanding of the science behind the technology, our small group was able to ask questions and learn a bit about how the process works.

In 2010, HAEP began construction on an Andigen Induced Blanket Reactor Anaerobic Digester. That is a really big title for a really big operation. The digester captures and processes waste from over 2,400 head of their beef cattle into energy. Some lightheartedly call it “Cow Power.”

After much trial and error and a huge learning curve on this cutting edge process, HAEP is presently converting their animal waste into methane gas which fuels a  300 Kilowatt engine/generator. The generated electricity is then used to supply the daily electrical needs of the digester and feedlot with any surplus energy sold to the local utility partner KCPL.

However, the process doesn’t stop there. Since the goal of the alternative energy project is to reduce the volume of wastes generated by the feedlot operation, HAEP then takes the effluent, or byproduct of the digester, and processes it into a fertilizer: Nature’s Eco-Friendly Nutrient Vitalizer which is bagged and sold on the retail market.

We weren’t the only ones who were curious about what HAEP was doing. The Missouri Secretary of Agriculture, Richard Fordyce, visited the Hampton Feedlot and HAEP on Tuesday for a tour of their unique operation.  Accompanying the director were  J.P. Dunn, Internation Manager and Melissa Miller, International Marketing Specialist for the Missouri Department of Agriculture.  Tony McCollum, Presiding Chariton County Commissioner; Gary Clark, Chariton County Western District Commissioner; Susan Littleton, Chariton County Clerk as well as HAEP Board of Directors and staff discussed the accomplishments of the facility and the future of agriculture in rural Central Missouri.

Who would have guessed this amazing technology and one-of-a-kind operation is right here in Chariton County. If you are interested in more information or a tour, contact Terry Smith at 660-634-2216.

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