Exploding manure pits; startup business competition

Sep 19, 2013

The caretakers of this hog barn near Union, Iowa, are worried about a mysterious foam forming on the manure produced by their hogs.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

It’s about that time of year when hog farmers begin the annual process of pumping a year’s worth of manure out of the pits under their barns. The nutrient-rich slurry will fertilize cropland. But there’s an ongoing problem in these pits: a mysterious foam that sometimes forms on the manure. As Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer explains, no one quite understands why gases get trapped in the pits, but the foam has been causing explosions. That’s right; this is a story about exploding manure pits.

Startup businesses are an important part of any community. They’re especially important for a city that’s growing in population but shedding jobs in sectors like manufacturing.  Columbia's entrepreneurial scene is strong and growing. This past weekend, KBIA’s Scott Pham visited Columbia’s Startup Weekend, an annual competition for businesses looking for help to launch their product.