Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

South Dakota company unveils product to reduce methane emissions from livestock

Agrovive CEO Tony Hagen uses research equipment to analyze a plant
Jordyn Henderson
Agrovive Biologicals CEO Tony Hagen uses research equipment in the company's lab to analyze a plant.

A South Dakota-based agriculture company has unveiled a line of products that it says can lower the methane emissions of certain livestock while also increasing milk and meat production.

The products, created by Agrovive Biologicals in Tea, are crop inoculants, or mixtures of bacteria that are applied to crops or seeds. When treated crops are used as feed, livestock such as cattle, sheep and goats use some of the energy they would spend producing methane to instead gain weight and produce more milk.

Agrovive CEO Tony Hagen said people have turned to the agriculture industry to combat the greenhouse gas emissions, including methane, that cause climate change. Cows emit methane in their burps and manure, and there are about 4 million cattle in South Dakota alone.

“Farmers are the low-hanging fruit for methane reduction,” Hagen said. “They don’t have to take cars off the road. We don’t have to change the fuel. If we can reduce methane coming from cattle, then we save industry from having to make some very expensive cuts.”

According to Hagen, many in the agriculture industry expect more governments to enact and enforce carbon-reduction policies going forward. New Zealand recently became the first country in the world to announce plans to tax methane emissions.

As for the increase in meat and milk production, recent conflicts like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have caused a decrease in food in those areas. In part because of these worldwide issues, Hagen said Agrovive hopes to implement its product in countries besides the United States, with an area of interest being Europe.

While Agrovive’s new inoculants have the ability to address global agricultural concerns, Hagen said the company always keeps the financial feasibility of its products in mind. According to Hagen, many of Agrovive’s employees come from a farming background and understand the weight of making large changes.

“We’ve gone into this from the standpoint that this can’t be a cost to the farmer,” Hagen said. “This has to be something that benefits them directly.”

The company works with seed producers to apply the inoculants to crop seeds before selling them to farmers.

Agrovive is currently expanding its production capacity and its workforce to keep up with the high demand the company has seen since releasing its new inoculants.

Andrew Kronaizl is a senior at Augustana University. He is from Vermillion, SD, and is based out of SDPB's Sioux Falls studio.