Bioreactor technology emerges as powerful tool

WOODSTOCK – Corn and soybean farmer Michael Ganschow was an easy recruit for Lauren Lurkins, the Illinois Farm Bureau’s environmental policy director, as she encouraged farmers to install woodchip bioreactors on their farms.

“I met Lauren in 2016, and less than two years later she shows up on my farm with equipment, digs a hole and fills it with wood chips,” Ganschow told a group of farmers, agricultural leaders and representatives and employees of the state and of the nation No later than Tuesday morning in the series of the IFB’s Nutrient Stewardship Field Days.

Ganschow is a sixth generation farmer in Bureau County, and his grandfather was one of the first Illinois farmers to adopt no-till systems.

“Conservation has always been an important part of our work,” he says.

A wood chip bioreactor might sound like something straight out of Marvel Comics. In reality, it’s essentially a trench filled with wood chips that filter out nitrates that would otherwise pollute the runoff water and then streams and then the Mississippi and then the Gulf of Mexico. You have the idea.