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1383 and the Ag Order 4.0 , which recently went into effect in California and have created a crisis for farmers .
Ag Order 4.0 is a regulation from the Central Coast Water Quality Control Board that aims to reduce the amount of nitrogen use on crops . Right now , five hundred pounds of nitrogen are used per acre of farmland . Ag Order 4.0 aims to gradually bring that number down to fifty pounds per acre . This is good for the environment , because nitrogen fertilizers poison rivers , oceans , and drinking water , however it also means there will be a reduction in crop production . According to Agri Pulse Communications , limiting nitrogen applications to just two hundred pounds per acre would result in a $ 119 million loss and would slash as many as 11,000 jobs .
“ We have a way around that ,” Cox said , “ Currently , our fertilizer application is about one pound of nitrogen per acre . That ’ s well below the limit .”
MAIN IMAGE : Founder and Inventor Mike Cox with onions grown in raised beds onsite at Anaerobe Systems in Morgan Hill . At a cost of 20 % less than synthetic fertilizers , Mike ' s plant-based , all organic FermeGROW fertilizer yields 11-34 % increases in crop size . ABOVE : Food waste from carrot processesing is delivered daily to Anaerobe Systems where it is converted into organic plant food through the process of biofermentation .
Not only that , but the mining and transportation for NPK harms the environment . Cox described how phosphorus mining has decimated 400,000 acres of land in Florida , and how processing the phosphoric rock into its usable form , phosphoric acid , creates radioactive waste that ’ s dumped in toxic waste ponds . Potassium and Nitrogen come from Canada , the middle east , and Russia , and their shipment contributes to greenhouse gas emissions .
Another law , SB 1383 , aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions , mainly methane , by requiring a 75 percent reduction in organic waste dumping by 2025 . Food waste must be diverted away from landfills and into composting sites . Commercial farms dispose of nearly 300 tons of organic waste daily . Because SB1383 is an unfunded mandate , now the onus is on farmers to find and pay for places that adhere to these requirements .
Cox sees his CAFS process as a perfect solution to the issues caused by SB 1383 . Not only does it complete the composting cycle in three days , compared to the two or three
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In contrast , Cox ’ s fertilizer is derived from plant material that enriches the soil . This is beneficial in a number of ways . Cox explained that the chemical reactions that occur between the microbes in the soil and plant roots involves the release of water , which means farms could potentially reduce the amount of water needed for their crops . This would be especially helpful for drought plagued regions like California .
Cox also discovered that the special hydrogen producing properties of the bacteria strains he uses contribute to plant growth . He described field trials where hydrogen was bubbled into the root zone , which resulted in a twenty or thirty percent bigger crop yield compared to normal crops . Best of all , his fertilizer does this naturally .
So far , the majority of the fertilizer Cox produces goes to Bonito Valley Farms . The crop analyses they ’ ve done on two different lettuce fields showed that the crop size of the lettuce was about 11.7 percent bigger than crops with conventional fertilizers . A test of a cauliflower crop yielded a 34.7 percent bigger crop size . Cox ’ s fertilizer also costs roughly twenty percent less than conventional fertilizers . “ We beat them in crop size , we beat them in price , and we ’ re organic ,” he said .
Cox believes that CAFS and his fertilizer can help solve the problems caused by the Climate Pollutant Reduction Law SB
ABOVE : Anaerobe Systems blends fermented crop residue solids with wood biochar to create FermeCHAR blended soil amendment . Sold locally in garden centers and used by local arborists andlandscape companies , FermeCHAR improves water and nutrient retention , and promotes plant growth by conditioning the soil . Mike ' s patented inventions eliminate plant food waste , reduce costs for commercial growers , improve crop yeids , and revives depleted soil .
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