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Roeslein Alternative Energy

FILE PHOTO: Starting in August 2016, St. Louis-based Roeslein Alternative Energy began distributing methane from pig manure into a national pipeline system at Ruckman Farm, near Albany, Mo. (Photo courtesy of Roeslein & Associates Inc.)

A northern Missouri project that converts hog manure into natural gas is now operational and tapped into a pipeline system for distribution.

The "manure-to-energy" project is the result of a partnership between Smithfield Foods — which describes itself as the "world’s largest pork processor and hog producer” — and the St. Louis-based company Roeslein Alternative Energy.

Smithfield announced Monday that construction is complete on a natural gas transmission line connecting one of its hog farms to the gas distribution system in Milan, Missouri.

A similar project came online in 2016 at a Smithfield farm near Albany, Missouri.

The company has since announced a nationwide expansion of its plans to capture methane from on-site waste lagoons at its farms. It says that "over the next 10 years, Smithfield will implement 'manure-to-energy' projects across 90% of its hog finishing spaces in North Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and nearly all of its hog finishing spaces in Missouri," according to a release Monday.

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Reporter covering energy and the environment for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.