Freunds turned a problem into an opportunity
by Ron Johnson
Connecticut farm’s manure made into CowPots
EAST CANAAN, Ct. – Sometimes a problem leads to an opportunity. That’s the situation with brothers Benjamin and Matthew Freund.
A need to protect the environment led to a sideline business. Their CowPots – seed-starting and plant containers made from cow manure – are now sold nationally and internationally. At the same time, the Freunds’ 270-cow dairy farm near New Canaan, Connecticut, sends fewer nutrients into area waterways.
The idea for CowPots was born some 15 years ago. The people of Freund’s Farm, Inc. were searching for a way to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) enforcement of the Clean Water Act. Of special concern was Long Island Sound, which receives water from several Connecticut streams.
At about the same time, said Benjamin, a study found that northwest Connecticut dairy farms simply did not have enough cropland to use all the manure they produced. Already, there was too much phosphorus in the soil, so that, plus nitrogen, needed to be exported some way.