The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (Minister Chung Hwang-keun, MAFRA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for building an eco-friendly model of livestock farming on June 14 (Tuesday), 2022 with the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (Chairman Lee Seong-hee, Nonghyup) and SK Incheon Petrochem Co., Ltd. (CEO Choi Yun-seok, SK Incheon Petrochem).
With the aim to establish an eco-friendly livestock-farming model that reduces odors and greenhouse gas emissions, the three organizations will closely work together to enhance productivity, promote energy conversion such as expanding renewable energy production using livestock manure and organic waste resources, and build an intelligent farming system (smart farming) in the agriculture and livestock industry.
Livestock farming has grown steadily, accounting for a significant portion of the rural economy. The industry, however, faces an increase in social costs and civil complaints due to deterioration of livestock farming environment such as livestock manure* and odors. Consequently, the public’s negative perception of livestock farming has continued to spread.
* Livestock manure (10,000 tons, estimated): (2016) 4,699→ (2017) 4,846→ (2018) 5,101→ (2019) 5,184 → (2020) 5,194
** Number of complaint cases due to livestock odors: (2014) 2,838 → (2016) 6,398 → (2018) 6,718 → (2020) 14,345 (accounting for around 35% of all complaint cases)
Amid the rapidly changing landscape of the industry such as climate change and carbon neutrality and digital transformation, the transition to an eco-friendly livestock industry is not an option, but a must for survival to realize the future growth and industrialization of the livestock industry as it reduces livestock odors and greenhouse gases and strengthens the growth engine of the industry.
Taking the opportunity of signing the MOU with SK Incheon Petrochem, a leading energy company in Korea, to utilize advanced convergence technologies of private companies, MFRA plans to promote optimum environment control based on the information and communication technology (ICT) and Internet of Things (IoT) and expand renewable energy production using livestock manure. In doing so, it is expected to build an eco-friendly model of the livestock industry together with the Korean people, and to promote green energy business using organic waste resources such as livestock manure in rural areas.
Under the MOU, ▴MAFRA will provide institutional and financial support to transition to smart livestock farming and promote renewable energy production. ▴Nonghyup will conduct pilot projects for demonstration with local agricultural cooperatives. ▴SK Incheon Petrochem will provide technical support for smart control and energy efficiency. ▴The Rural Development Administration will support technology development to integrate advanced technologies of private companies into the livestock industry.
Currently, energy conversion facilities that generate electricity from methane are only in eight locations* among the 88 livestock manure public resource centers nationwide. To expand renewable energy production, it is urgent to equip the public resource centers with energy production facilities. But the transition is difficult due to lack of technologies for operating the facilities.
* 8 locations: Gyeonggi-do (Yeoncheon and Icheon), Chungchungnam-do (Hongseong, Cheongyang and Asan), Jeonlabuk-do (Jeongeup), Gyeongsangnam-do (Yangsan), Jeju-do (Seogwipo)
Under the partnership with SK Incheon Petrochem, the technologies for operation will be adopted from the energy company. It will reduce greenhouse gases by expanding use and production of renewable energies and increase profits from electricity generation, making more public energy facilities using livestock manure be in operation.
Importantly, it is expected to promote carbon neutrality as livestock manure energy conversion facilities (150 tons/daily treatment) produces 5,768 MWh of electricity annually (equivalent to consumption of about 1,900 four-person households) and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by about 22,000 tons.
In addition, the technologies that the business owns for petrochemical processing and wastewater treatment will be adopted to address odor and wastewater issues which have been one of the biggest headaches in the livestock industry. It will lay the foundation for an eco-friendly data-driven model of livestock farming including livestock breeding management, odor control, efficiency improvement of purification based on the information and communication technology (ICT) and Internet of Things (IoT).
Minister Chung Hwang-geun of MAFRA said “Creative ideas and innovative technologies of private companies that have led Korea’s industrialization will be adopted to the agriculture and livestock industry. It will be a starting point to promote future growth and industrialization of agriculture in a way different from before,” stressing that “In the past, we faced technical limitations when searching for solutions only within the agriculture sector. Moving forward, however, we will make the best efforts to facilitate renewable energy conversion and smart agriculture and livestock farming by grafting the technologies developed by private companies to solving problems in the agriculture and livestock industry