Agriculture professor fosters sustainable farming innovation

Liquid sweet whey, a byproduct following the manufacture of cheese, is traditionally sent to the landfill, serving no functional purpose for farmers and resulting in a disposal cost. At MSU, students in Agribusiness Management have uncovered a unique dual purpose for the whey that both reduces cost and diverts waste.

MSU Agribusiness Management senior, Joseph Lutz, is pursuing a dynamic research project: use liquid whey, which is high in protein, as a cost-effective feed alternative for pigs. Working with Dr. Dale Rozeboom, professor and extension specialist in the Department of Animal Science, Lutz used whey that was being discarded from the MSU Dairy Farm to feed growing swine. Thus far, the feed alternative allows the pigs to reach the same weight using one-third less dry feed, a direct cost savings, and prevents 500-700 gallons of liquid sweet whey from being discarded weekly, diverting significant waste from the landfill. If implemented on a commercial or artisan farm operation, this strategy could have significant impact on overall cost to the farmer.

This project, now ongoing at the MSU Swine Teaching and Research Center, illustrates the unique benefit of utilizing student innovation and research to address real industry challenges. As he begins his own professional career, Lutz will take the knowledge gained through this undergraduate research beyond the classroom walls, using science to continually inform and improve his own techniques.