The Top Reasons Why You Should Invest With Viroment

You’re on a long road trip on a desolate highway. Nothing is in sight for miles except for flat land, and the occasional tumbleweed. 

You’re cruising to your favorite song until you notice a stench starting to fill your car.

You think to yourself, “What is that smell? It smells like poop!”

You look back at your dog, and rest assured, Fido hasn’t made an accident in your car, so what is that smell? 

It lingers for miles as you rack your brain, “Why does it smell so bad?!”

And then you see it over the horizon, a huge brown pond with cattle grazing nearby. 

It’s a pond of poop. Literally. 

A huge waste lagoon from the cattle farm that’s been aggregating and stewing in the sun for months until it’s released. 

You can’t help but gag as the stretch comes to its peak as you drive by. You think to yourself, “I never want to eat meat again.” 

Sludge lagoons are posing a serious problem across the world. Not only is the foul odor and eyesore unparalleled, but these lagoons also create a toxic problem for the environment if they are not treated properly or leak into the surrounding environment or your food. 

Related: Cesspools of Shame: How Factory Farm Lagoons and Sprayfields Threaten Environmental and Public Health

Food contamination concerns have only escalated during Covid-19 although before the pandemic some researchers found that over 90% of our nation’s beef supply was contaminated with effluence

Yes, that’s poop in your burger. 

Groundwater contamination from agricultural runoff has reached peak levels and protein production is responsible for measurable amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.

The good news?

Vironment’s proprietary sludge treatment and protein barns are disrupting these toxic problems. 

Our proprietary technology invented by our founder Paul Koenig cleans contaminated animal-sludge on-site, yielding usable water, pelletized fertilizer, and odor-free air on the farm and surrounding communities. Once in operation, our facilities can raise up to $4M of protein per year in a safer and more sustainable way without relying upon sludge lagoons!

Related: We’re Viroment and This is Our Story

“Investors understand that each operation goes up in phases,” Koenig explains. “There’s the installation of the facility which creates jobs for surveyors, contractors, engineers, builders, craftsmen, concrete workers, slab makers, everyone involved in the creation of the modern barns. Then, there are daily employees who care for the facility and the hogs. There’s veterinarians, packagers, haulers, marketers, and each barn can be its own cottage industry or owners can have several.”

“Our technology is on the ground solving those problems as we speak,” Paul reminds. “Our units were dispatched to help the City of Houston in the fall of 2017 as part of the FEMA emergency call for assistance in response to Hurricane Harvey. Our equipment has been on-site ever since processing sewage and converting it to clean reusable water and dry solids targeted for pellets which are marketed by the City of Houston as a soil enhancement as they are nutrient-rich. That’s the largest sewage treatment facility in the world and our technology has been validated there.”

But Viroment’s technology is a globally viable solution which is what prompted Paul to join his first trade mission to Southeast Asia. 

And that’s only the beginning of our growth. 

We’re working night and day to rapidly expand our mission and vision because we know that our technology makes a tangible difference in your communities. 

It’s our ultimate goal to see waste lagoons gone forever! 

But we need your help, which is why we’re running an equity crowdfunding campaign on Wefunder so we can build more Viroment barns across the globe. 

Here’s why you should consider investing in our technology.

Our CEO Paul is a Bootstrapping Visionary and Sharp Negotiator

Paul grew up on his parents’ farm learning traditional methods of farming from his dad. Cold, early mornings cleaning few hobby animal pens to teach year-round responsibility on a large cash crop farm were followed months later by summer evenings cooking hamburgers and brats over winter split wood with family around the evening campfire.

Cleaning the stables was a regular chore for young Paul. Even then he was wondering if there couldn’t be a better way. (Literally, anyone who’s shoveled manure has wondered this, after their nose is seared from the raw stench of fresh waste.)

Shortly after playing Division 1 football for the Minnesota Golden Gophers as a defensive back, Paul started from nothing and built a small real estate empire in the toughest parts of Minneapolis during the market’s most difficult years. His approach was novel. He introduced new construction homes into Section 8 communities providing elevated living conditions for people in a community at risk. Over 15 years he conducted over 750 transactions where he was the primary or sole stakeholder serving over 6,000 tenants, many of whom were immigrants.

Related: Read on the Star Tribune, “Anthony Paul Koenig Went From a Talk on the Farm to an International Environmental Entrepreneur” 

“I learned a lot about negotiating at that time. Not only with banks and partners but really about intuiting how a conversation is going from body language” Paul admits. Many of his residents were of Somali origin in the United States for the first time. “We only had a few words in common but we learned to have full conversations by listening and anticipating.”

That skill carried over years later into his forays abroad in China working negotiation deals for Viroment. 

Viroment’s Technology Has Won Clean Water Awards and Has Scaled Internationally

Upon retirement from real estate, Paul began working in earnest on his invention and networking at the highest levels.

“We were awarded the First Place Water Prize at the Clean Tech Open in 2016,” an event showcasing competitive sustainable technology across sectors, sponsored by WellsFargo and attended by Fortune100’s and beyond. “We a small company with the greatest success in the competition. We were getting noticed.”

“From there we were invited on our first trade mission by the US Commerce Department, their commercial services division. Those people are great. They asked us if we’d be interested in participating in a US trade mission to Southeast Asia. Of course, we said, ‘Yes!’ We went to Vietnam, Singapore, and the Philippines. On that trip, we gained a  fantastic partner in Vietnam.” 

Related: Watch Paul on CGTN America Discuss the US Business Delegation with President Trump in China

The Ho Chi Min City-based relationship put Viroment’s technology to work straight away. The engagement remains a productive relationship to this day, with the potential for expansion with the privately held California-based parent company.

Success in Vietnam led to an invitation to China. “From the previous delegation, ours was the only company invited back which was promising. Our very first introduction was with their version of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and they loved what we were doing.”

The Viroment team was invited back a month later to speak to a group of their people. “I thought it was just going to be five or six folks. I ended up being a featured speaker in front of 600 Chinese regulators. I came back another month later and cut a deal with one of the largest state-owned companies, which owns many large wastewater treatment facilities, and sewage treatment facilities. The whole deal is just massive.”

Massive is an understatement, our deals with China were over $900M! 

The agreement between the parties was executed at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing during the Historic Secretary Wilbur Ross trade mission with both President Xi and President Trump attending to witness contract signings. The partnership in China is centered around improving the environment while also creating jobs in both countries.

“I’m really grateful for the US Commerce people. We were introduced to opportunities that make real sense for the world,” proffers Paul. “We worked hard, don’t get me wrong. While I was there, often I’d be the only American businessman. There might be anywhere from 30 to 50 Chinese businessmen in the room, and, I’ll be the only one to cut a deal. I have the deal worked out ahead of time with my preparation. Because I learned to listen and anticipate in my younger years, I can go there and hold my own, like no one else.“

Deals in southeast Asia are just a start. We currently have deals in the pipeline targeting Germany, Brazil, Canada, and more. 

Invest in Viroment and Help Us Make The Protein Industry More Sustainable! 

We’re doing a capital raise on Wefunder to open up the opportunity for the everyday investor to get involved with the movement. 

We know there’s an active group of environmentalists who want to see the meat industry become greener and cleaner, but there’s never been a better option. 

Until now. 

We’re excited to see our technology being built in one of the first sustainable hog farms ever because we know that it will be a game-changer. We know that we have the power to get rid of waste lagoons for good and manage waste production as a whole more sustainably. 

We’re inviting other visionaries to join our mission, invest in Viroment barns, and shift the industry now.”

To recap here’s why you should invest in Viroment:

  1. Your investment is structured as a loan and is guaranteed to payout. 
  2. We have massive international deals already in place.
  3. Viroment supports job creation and economic influx for rural communities.
  4. Viroment creates clean water in farming and agriculture.
  5. Viroment helps improve air quality in the surrounding communities.
  6. Viroment supports a clean source of animal protein, specifically pork, which is 38% of our global supply.

With a growing demand for a cleaner protein industry, Viroment is perfectly positioned to make a huge positive impact that benefits both sides; the environment and the animal producer. 

The impact is much bigger than your car trip being ruined by the foul odor of an animal farm. Your investment in Viroment means we can disrupt an entire industry in a way that’s better for your health, the environment’s health, and the economy’s health. 

Get involved now and invest in sustainable protein production and waste management today, for a cleaner tomorrow. 

The 7 Problems With Sludge Waste Disposal

Current agribusiness practices have caused numerous problems in our food supply. Common among them is sludge waste management, which in the age of factory farming is having some devastating effects.

The system looks like this:

  • Hundreds to thousands of livestock are raised in close conditions.

  • The livestock waste is collected inputs and lagoons which emit greenhouse gases.

  • Lagoons are then pumped or driven miles and miles and miles until…,

  • It is sprayed (uncomposted) over the soil where…,

  • The runoff is contaminating groundwater, streams, and wildlife.

But beyond the obvious design flaws, there are additional impacts on our health, our economy, and our environment. By laying out the problems of our current sludge waste management, we hope to convince you the industry is long overdue for innovation and show you how you can be a part of that innovation.

Problem #1: Sludge Waste is Costly to Manage

Distributing waste sludge the way the industry does it today is expensive.  First, a large tanker or applicator is loaded with sludge for land application on nearby crops.  Then, the rig meanders along row after row of soil either injecting or spraying a thick mist of the watered-down excrement hoping it’s evenly applied. The cost to distribute waste like this is enormous including diesel fuel, labor, and equipment costs to boot.

Specifically, it will cost farmers on average 2.5 cents per gallon. Each liquified manure truck holds approximately 5,000 gallons, meaning it costs the farmer at least $125 per load to spray.

Paul explains, “When you start adding up the costs for a facility that produces over 8,000,000 gallons of liquid manure, it winds up being around $200,000 for a farmer just to move some poop.”

Problem #2: Sludge Waste Stinks

The problem is so bad it’s driving property values down in surrounding communities. People are suffering from airborne illnesses and respiratory complications. Some homeowners report entire sides of their homes are covered in spray, multiple times a day.

Could you imagine what it’s like having poop sprayed on your house, seeping into your walls?

We can’t either.

Related: Manure Spraying Under Scrutiny

Even with these awful instances, over 100,000 square miles of land are being “used” in this way in Iowa alone creating nearly unlivable conditions for people outside of the agriculture community (and even those inside).

Some farmers are beginning to pay legal fines for their impact, this one, Smithfield dinged $50M for damage to their neighbor. Smithfield is in ongoing litigation on multiple cases.

Problem #3: Sludge Waste Disposal Doesn’t Match Cropping Schedules

Waste sludge application needs often do not match farmers cropping schedules.

What does that mean?

“Weather is a huge factor for liquid manure application. To ensure it’s disinfected properly and has enough time to absorb into the soil before planting, you must allow the manure to sit for extended periods in the sun,” says our Co-Founder Russell Vering.

As we all know, the weather is extremely unpredictable and that’s the problem. “When the weather plays into harvest or planting, it creates urgency for manure application. For example, you know you need to apply manure, but frost is coming soon, or it looks like it’s going to rain, then all of a sudden you’re scrambling.  Now you have to do it quickly all inside of a couple of days or a couple of weeks or even a one month window, twice a year,” explains Viroment partner Russell Vering.

That short window of time may not be optimal for the farmers’ fields.

Paul adds, “You can’t spread this stuff when crops are in the field, you have to spread it when the crops are not in the field. In the spring, the farmers want to get into the fields as quickly as possible so that they have more crop growing time. At the end of the year, there’s only so much time before the snow or the freeze comes. Since you can’t spray when it’s frozen (which is illegal in most areas) there’s only a short two extremely short windows a year to fertilize.”

Nature is a tough yet fickle mistress who will not be toyed with long term. Try ignoring any of her rules and a price will be paid. “That’s what happened this last year, we had record rains from Florence which resulted in massive flooding. Where did all that waste on the ground and in lagoons go? It got flooded everywhere which resulted in lawsuits because the health and environmental impact was extremely negative.”

Related: I Saw Florence Sending Millions of Gallons of Animal Poop Flooding North Carolina

Problem #4: Sludge Spraying Tractors Cause Soil Compaction

The tractors that lug around liquid manure weigh an average 150,000 pounds. Driving these tractors on cropland causes soil compaction—a farmer’s enemy.

Soil compaction limits drainage and water absorption, making it difficult to irrigate farms. Compacted soil also makes it difficult for delicate sprouts to extend their roots and absorb the necessary nutrients they need to thrive.

Problem #5: Sludge Manure Potency is Inconsistent

Since liquid manure is typically collected for months to years before it’s sent to the field, it’s almost impossible to know the concentration of the end product when it’s mixed with more water and added to tankers.

Because farmers are largely unaware of what’s in the tank they follow conventional wisdom—spray more just in case the potency is low and ensure that your soil is properly fertilized for a rich crop.

The problem is that potency is not able to be monitored amongst loads resulting in an application which more potent than what the field needs. Too many nitrates can burn crops and damage them, they can also runoff into nearby fields and cause damage to the local environment.  Runoff full of nitrate creates large scale environmental problems and the main proponent of algae issues plaguing so many waterways.

“Today’s cropping plan is all Precision Ag[riculture],” shares Russell. “Precision Ag is taking traditional fertilizer (manmade), and prescribing it to an acre-by-acre basis. Farmers like to know all of their inputs to an exact science so they’ll have an agronomist grid the field. That way, if there’s high ground or low ground or the pH is off, they can turn up or turn down fertilization levels according to GPS. But with liquid pig manure they spread a solution that’s inconsistent, which results in over-fertilization.”

Problem #6: People Breathe In Hydrogen Sulfides From Underground Manure

There’s either one of two things on a standard protein farm; (1) either a pit underneath the barn, (2) or an outside lagoon, or both. Those pits and lagoons are emitting hydrogen sulfide and ammonia year-round which the livestock and laborers are breathing.

Hydrogen sulfide exposure causes acute nausea, conjunctivitis, headache, and respiratory inflammation. With long exposures, hydrogen sulfide can cause death—a huge hazard that’s not being appropriately addressed for the workers or pigs.

“When you have a barn with a lot of gases, it ultimately is presenting a tremendous health concern to the workers. They also affect the immune system of the pig. It causes stress and gives them more of an opportunity to get sick. Relaxed, unstressed pigs put on weight and grow faster so the industry is all about de-stressing,” says Paul.

Problem #7: Sludge Waste Has High Carbon Emissions

“The problem with all the carbon emissions, the greenhouse gases, is two fold,” Russ explains. “Number one is that because these pits or lagoons are gassing off all the time, year round. Then secondly, you have the carbon emissions that are generated by the tractor when you’re hauling these loads of sludge to the fields for field disposal or application.”

According to ScienceDirect,”The average emissions from lagoons ranged from 30 to 126 kg/hectare of methane per day.” That’s the same emissions as if you decided to burn 309 gallons of gasoline. When these lagoons sit for months to years, they become a huge contributor to the overall climate changes we’re currently experiencing.

It’s Time For Innovation in Sludge Waste Management

As more open-minded people try impossible burgers and plant-based foods, increasingly more people will be demanding clean and sustainable food sources that are good for our health and environment.

“We talk to farmers every day who want a cost-effective way to deal with this problem,” said Russ and Paul. “They’re not excited about being pariahs in their communities, they want to be aligned and contributing.”

Viroment’s tech eliminates the multiple problems with sludge waste by: :

  • Lowering costs of managing waste

  • Creating profit center from our pelletized dry waste

  • Reducing carbon emissions in two ways (no open storage, or hauling emissions)

  • Recycling water from waste and leaving fresh water in the water table

  • Removing odor and contaminants from the air

  • Making fertilization measurable and precise with pelleted fertilizer

  • Making animal farmers friends with their neighbors again

Viroment is expanding rapidly, currently accepting investors, partnering with farmers and planning to install their clean-smelling barns across rural and agricultural America.

You can be a part of this innovation by investing in Viroment on Wefunder! Join us today for a cleaner, greener tomorrow.

Check out We’re Viroment and This is Our Story!

We’re Viroment and This is Our Story

“Bottomline, our sh*t doesn’t stink,” exclaims our CEO  Paul Koenig, Chief Executive Officer at Viroment. “Those are technical terms. We take the smell out of modern farming, by removing sludge and waste from previously-used farm water and decreasing the cost to dispose of those contaminants while making the entire farming experience more pleasant. ”

Anyone who’s road-tripped past a large (think industrial) cattle ranch on a hot mid-summer day knows how that smell can seep into the upholstery of your enclosed and recirculating-AC SUV, staying with you for miles despite multiple febreeze dustings.

Paul grew up on his family’s “Century Award-Winning” farm in central Minnesota where he admits, “I always thought when something’s more sustainable it costs more.”

“What’s wild is when the true economics of sustainability hit you, you realize that it should cost you less, whether that’s long, mid, or short-term, but with the right design,” says Paul, “technology innovation should always be increasing our balance with nature and decreasing the cost to do so.”

In Paul’s words, Viroment is a sustainable, profitable farming innovation that is easy to use, costs less, and significantly reduces the impact on the environment.

“It’s a similar shift in approach as single-sort recycling. Before single-sort, people who wanted to recycle had to request bins or cans from their city. They had to separate newspapers from cardboard from glass and metal. Newspapers had to be bundled, cans had to be crushed, cardboard is broken down…, it wasn’t easy, it cost more to go to the recycling center than they’d pay you for your effort. It discouraged recycling which was worse for the environment,” Paul explains. “Then, single-sort happened. You essentially get a second garbage can with a different color lid and anything with a recycle-logo on it can all go in the same can. It’s easy to do, it costs less and it’s better for the environment. That’s the model here.”

Large volume livestock facilities have traditionally been shipping sludge, slurry, and waste off-site for disposal. Up to 97% of that volume is contaminated water which is very expensive to ship.

At Viroment we’re changing all of that. Here’s how.

Viroment’s Sustainable Barn Technology

Imagine for a moment a traditional farm system. Animals eat, evacuate waste, which is then collected to a part of the property where it waits for removal periodically once or twice a year (That’s a lot of flies and a really bad smell). The stored sludge gases created greenhouse emissions throughout the year and in some cases, these collection lagoons are leached into the water table. Or, it’s all being stored in tanks and hauled out regularly as a slurry application on crops.

Without saying, there’s a negative impact on the environment with how the industry manages animal waste. This waste causes not only water and air pollution but also poses danger when it is sprayed on fields and is not appropriately disinfected by the sun.

We saw these huge problems and knew there had to be a better solution. So our team started working relentlessly to innovate an industry that’s been stagnant in this department for years.

Fast forward to today, Viroment is providing an on-site solution which separates waste solids and filters the water for secondary on-site uses. In technical-terms, raw effluent is drawn into a vacuum drum dryer which uses suction to pull the liquid into a central duct. There it is rotated through a filtration / dewater zone allowing the solids to form an ultrathin cake. At density, a blade cuts the solids, or cake, away from the utter drum where it is separated into a container for shipping, approximately 1/100th of the volume.

The dry waste is then pelletized and can be used as fertilizer or fed to fish in aquaponics creating a closed-looped system that is more cost-effective, efficient, and sustainable.

The bottom line is we’re addressing the mess at its source.

Our innovative technology is reducing wastewater sludge footprints by up to 99% and creating clean reuse water and a valuable multi-use bio-cake.

What Farmers (and Investors) Are Saying…

Claudia Hale, an early investor in Viroment shared, “My grandparents had dairy cows and it was a big deal to remove the manure from the barns every day. Viroment would have made their business a lot more productive if they didn’t have to spend all the time with the cleanup. The future for farmers will be brighter with Viroment barns!”

Viroment is a commercial farm partner primarily providing low-cost sustainable solutions to industrial-scale problems. Our modern barn is a “set-it and forget-it” installation which reduces shipping costs from three cents per gallon of waste to a tenth of a penny to process and dispose of and eliminates countless contaminants from the farming environment. Most importantly, it’s easy to use, lower cost, and better for the environment.

Another supporter, Alex Schroeder, pointed out, “Environmentally sound farming and job creation is a no-brainer. Looking forward to joining along for the growth!”

“Following Hurricane Harvey in 2017, our team and technology were funded by FEMA to reduce the footprint of Houston’s water treatment facility. We’ve been able to research in coordination with Rice University there as well,” Paul beams.

We’re using this research to fuel our mission to build 350 modern barns over the next three to five years. “Each of these barns is roughly $5 million apiece to build. Each house about 13,000 growing spaces. And each of those growing spaces turns over around 2.1 times per year. So it’s almost 30,000 hogs, annually. That’s a lot of protein that’s being produced each year by each barn. And we’ve got the initial commitments to hit that number fairly easily,” shares Paul.

Related: Viroment Project at the Leachate Landfill

The Viroment Founding Team

Our CEO Paul is an award-winning inventor who’s traveled to Beijing China to participate in the historic US Commercial Services Trade Mission event held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing China. Viroment executed contracts for $800M with Hangzhou Iron and Steel and $100M with Guanye Guangdong Environmental Protection Company Limited; both of which are Chinese Government State-Owned Companies.

Related: Watch Paul on CGTN America Discuss the US Business Delegation with President Trump in China

To see the overarching vision of Viroment through, Paul partnered up with highly experienced local professionals.

Russell Vering, serving as Vice President, is a National Pork Producer Council board member representing the pork industry as a delegate in foreign trade missions to Asia, Mexico & the United Kingdom. Russell is a third-generation feed mill owner with long-standing relationships that he and his father built over the years with some of the largest protein producers in the country.

“He also understands technology. He’s built barns, owned barns. Knows barn builders in the region. He also has a relationship with a $700 million cooperative that co-owns his feed mills with him. He brings the strength and the resources of the cooperative with him into the deal,” Paul explains.

Chris Reimers worked for Archer-Daniels-Midland and then a large manure displacement company. “It was his job to look for land that fits the exact criteria we’re now seeking,” Paul describes. “His firm built facilities all over the world. In the course of his job Chris met and developed relationships with property owners all over the region. Chris has an understanding of where we’re going to build our next barns.” Chris is a land and nutrient expert who also served as a critical path specialist for Costco’s Billion Bird project.

The Next Steps

“It’s an exciting time for us. We have three main initiatives in front of us. From the research and testing we’re doing in Houston we plan to roll out a product for the Sewage Treatment industry. We’re building and leasing these barns starting in Nebraska. And we’re servicing these agreements in China. All big steps to take at once, and we’re just the team to do it.”

Related: Viroment Project Municipal Sludge at the City of Houston

Viroment is conducting an equity crowdfunding campaign on Wefunder to identify people who want to partner with us. If you want to get involved in creating cleaner air and water for future generations, then we encourage you to get involved as an investor!

Ultimately the Viroment team has executive-level corporate experience, but we’re also farmers from the midwest who want to see other farmers have a chance, create a healthier planet, and happy hogs in their pens.

We hope you join our movement!

Invest in Viroment!

Reach out if we can answer any questions or if you need support with anything. We’re happy to help!