PARAGOULD (KAIT) Today's farmer must look to save every penny he can in order to make money.
Fertilizers that use to cost hundreds of dollars now can cost thousands of dollars.
Now Region 8 farmers are getting a chance to use a natural human by-product on their fields.
Terry Grimes a farmer in Brookland, knows the value and what's in his load of municipal sewage bio solids.
"This here is high in organic matter and minerals like zinc a lot of this is really good to build the ground up. A supplement to our regular fertilizer program. "
This year Brooks is incorporating the natural fertilizer in his land preparations.
Grimes says the fertilizer at 50 dollars a buggy load will help offset the pricey commercial fertilizers.
Grimes, "With inputs tripled like they were. The conventional fertilizers, this has definitely benefited."
Lisa Ellington walked me through the process to show me how the waste is treated to make the solid fertilizer.
"Waste water comes in. We add microorganisms to the waste water which actually take care of most of the solids and most of the things that are in the waste water. Then we do what is called a wasting process where we waste some of the micro organisms out of the system and that's where the bio solids actually come from."
Many wastewater plants sell the liquids as fertilizer but very few take the extra steps to dry it out.
In fact Paragould has the first electric boiler that makes steam be used in the drying process.
The waste is brought in as a solid . It's broken up and kind of ground up in a dryer and dried and shipped out on a conveyor belt to the buggies where the farmer can take out to their fields.
It's not a fast process usually filling 1 or 2 buggies a week but there is a waiting list for loads.
As part of a research program into growing renewable bio fuels the Arkansas State University departments of Agriculture and Ecotoxicology Research will use the natural fertilizer.
Dr. Jennifer L. Boulding, "We are planting some bio energy crops and were using as one of our fertilizer treatments were using the bio solids. We're comparing it with an animal waste product because were using poultry litter as well as traditional fertilizer as a comparison."
All natural and a cost savings. Important words for today's farmers.