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Grant Helps Start Sustainable Beef Project
North Dakota Ag Connection - 06/02/2023

Bion Environmental Technologies Inc.'s (BNET:OTCQB) partner in a 15,000-head sustainable beef cattle feeding operation in North Dakota has been awarded a state grant to cover initial development costs.

The state's Agricultural Products Utilization Commission, part of the state Department of Agriculture, is giving Dakota Valley Growers (DVG) US$128,500 to cover 75% of the project's initial engineering, design, permitting, and legal work.

"We are excited to see things moving forward and pleased that the Ag Products Utilization Commission also recognized this as an opportunity, not just for DVG, but for North Dakota agriculture as a whole," Dakota Valley Growers founder Russell Edgar said. "We anticipate working with other state agencies and stakeholders to support this project and the production of premium finished beef right here in North Dakota."

Annual production from the facility developed with Dakota Valley Growers near Bathgate is expected to be 42,500 head of premium, sustainable beef cattle, Bion said.

Bion's Gen3Tech technology will transform waste from the animals into renewable natural gas, value-added low-carbon fertilizers, and clean water.

Independent and self-described "disruptive and cleantech investor," PennyQueen called Bion a "great Buy."

Independent and self-described "disruptive and cleantech investor," PennyQueen called Bion a "great Buy."

"In plain English, they take animal poop and turn it into money," she wrote in January on Streetwise Reports.

Demand for beef remains after the rise and fall of plant-based meat companies. According to a recent survey by Midan Marketing Research, three-quarters of Americans can't imagine giving up the taste of beef, and 62% purchase premium beef.

"I believe the lesson to be learned from it is two-fold, there is a great demand for alternatives to current farming practices, and there is still a massive demand for animal proteins," PennyQueen wrote.

Technical analyst Clive Maund also holds a favorable view of the stock, rating it an immediate Buy in March.

The Catalyst: Turning Waste Into Resources

Bion and Dakota Valley Growers have engaged engineering teams, and design work on the project has begun. Conditional use permit applications are expected to be submitted within two months, with a public hearing held soon after.

Expanding the Dakota Valley Growers operation will increase local demand for corn and other grains, as well as agricultural residues like wet distiller grains, soybean meal, and sugar beet pulp, Bion noted.

The project will use indoor barns to make sure the animals are adding protein instead of burning calories to stay warm. The barns will have slatted floors to enable continuous manure removal and processing.

Technical analyst Clive Maund also holds a favorable view of the stock, rating it an immediate Buy in March.

"The weather in North Dakota presents unique challenges to feeding cattle outdoors that we believe will highlight the advantages of barns coupled with state-of-the-art waste treatment and resource recovery technology," Bion Chief Executive Officer Bill O'Neill said. "We very much appreciate the 'can do' attitude we have met (in North Dakota), as well as the level of interest and support shown by various (agricultural) stakeholders and state agencies."

Anaerobic digesters in Bion's Gen3Tech system will recover nearly 84,000 MMBTU of renewable natural gas. The project will also produce about 4,000 tons of nitrogen fertilizer annually, enough to fertilize more than 11,000 acres of local corn.

Other fertilizer products, including organic ones, as well as 9 million gallons of clean water, will also be recovered. The water can be used for irrigation or watering the herd.

Recovery of natural gas, nutrients, and water will be transparent and third-party verified and supported by blockchain, Bion said. Along with cattle production history, that data will underpin a sustainable brand certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Process-Verified Program (PVP).

The sustainability will be measured by improvements in resource efficiencies, animal health and welfare, and reduced impacts to air, water, and soil, the company said. That info will be communicated to the consumer at the point of sale.

A 'Showroom for Other Cattle Farmers'

The livestock industry creates more than 1.5 billion tons of manure annually, contributing to climate change and the excess nutrient contamination of surface waters and groundwater aquifers.

Bion's specially designed barn and separately housed treatment system applies biological, thermal, and mechanical processes to animal waste, creating pipeline-quality natural gas, value-added low-carbon fertilizers, clean water, and clean air, and potentially water credits.

But the main product is blockchain-verified, USDA-certified, sustainable meat for the US$66 billion-a-year beef industry.


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