Marketing students direct manure disposal

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    By S. Wade Hansen

    It is a stinky situation, but it”s nothing a group of marketing students at BYU”s Marriott School can not handle.

    Cows at the BYU dairy in Salem, Utah, are supplying the dairy not only with thousands of gallons of milk, but also with mountains of manure each year.

    “Manure disposal is a big issue environmentally because of the smell and the weed seed found in the manure,” said BYU Farm manager Carl Richie.

    A few years ago, management for the dairy decided to invest in equipment that would turn the manure into compost that could be sold to the community for gardening.

    The equipment worked well, but, instead of having mountains of manure, the dairy was stuck with mountains of unsold compost.

    “Last year, we produced a lot more compost than we sold,” Rickie said. “We just didn”t know how to get the word out to the public about the compost.”

    Dairy management turned to Marriott School Professor Mark H. Hansen”s strategic-marketing class for help.

    The marketing class utilized focus groups and other market research to find the best distribution channels for the compost.

    “We wanted to find a niche where the compost could provide the greatest value,” said J.B. Rowberry, 24, a senior from Saratoga, California, majoring in business management. “We”ve found several different ways the product can be used in the area for the benefit of the community.”

    Management”s decision to utilize the students” research results and suggested strategies and tactics is already paying off.

    “We”ve sold in two weeks more than we did all of last year,” Richie said.

    Now, the problem the dairy faces is running out of its new commodity, he said.

    “These students have done so well that there”s more demand than the dairy can supply,” Hansen said.

    Dairy management has sold much of the compost to wholesale landscape-supply companies, but management is anxious to provide BYU faculty and people in the community with compost for their personal gardens, Richie said.

    “Now is the time for people to start buying,” said Josh Garner, 24, a senior from Pleasant View, Utah, majoring in business management. “It”s an amazing compost. It looks, feels and smells just like dirt.”

    Those interested in purchasing compost should contact the dairy at 423-2200 or visit the farm at 8845 S. 800 East, Salem, Utah.

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