OPPORTUNITIES for farmers in waste management are growing, with policy increasingly geared towards managing waste more efficiently.

Lucy Hopwood, who will be speaking at the Energy and Rural Business Show in March, said there is more scope to use agricultural waste more effectively. She said: "In the past waste has been dealt with by disposal, but over time, this is shifting significantly to recycling, reuse and ultimately, prevention.

"Anaerobic Digestion (AD) presents one of the best environmental outcomes for food waste that cannot be prevented or redistributed to others or, if this is not possible, used as animal feed."

She said the unavoidable agricultural wastes identified as most significant and showing the greatest potential in Europe are: manure from livestock; straw from cereals and oil seeds; pomace from fruit processing; leaves, pomace and peel from vegetables.

"Currently there are 486 operational plants in the UK, and a further 343 in development, which means that the potential for farmers to supply a growing market and benefit from enhancing their own waste management practices are significant," she said.

"There are numerous ways farmers can become involved, as suppliers of wastes and resources, or by developing their own waste-treatment capacity, to convert valuable agri-wastes to energy and other higher value outputs."

She will speak in the Energy and Rural Business Show conference in a new session called 'Identifying and maximising the value of agri-outputs and waste streams' at 1.40 – 2.50 on Tuesday, March 3, alongside Andrew Richards from Agrii, who will speak on 'Examining the effect of digestate on soil', and the British Hay Association, speaking on the topic of 'Straw – what is it good for?'

The show is on March 3-4 in the East of England Arena, Peterborough. It showcases the latest renewable energy opportunities, business diversification options, energy and environmental management recommendations and advances in low emission vehicles for agriculture.

Run in association with CLA and NFU Energy, the event is free to attend. Places can be booked on www.energyandruralbusiness.co.uk.