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USDA Encourages Farmers, Developers and Business Leaders to Learn How Anaerobic Digesters Can Reduce Pollution, Cut Energy Costs and Diversify Income

In 2009, during climate change talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack signed a historic “Memorandum of Understanding” with dairy producers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from farms by capturing methane with enhanced manure management practices and turning it into electricity.

While much has been done to encourage deployment of anaerobic digester technology in the United States, more needs to be accomplished, and with that in mind, USDA will join with the Farm Foundation, NFP, the AgStar Program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, and the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative of the University of Wisconsin to hold webinars from the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus later this month.

Two back-to-back webinars are planned for Wednesday, March 14.  One will examine how to finance a digester. The other will examine technology options for installing and maintaining anaerobic digester systems. The webinars, which are free of charge, are part of the Renewable Energy Education Field Day series–educational programs to provide farmers, ranchers, landowners and community leaders with information useful in deciding whether to implement a renewable energy technology in their operation.

The anaerobic digester on the Jordan Dairy Farm in Rutland, Mass., funded through a loan guarantee from USDA Rural Development

The anaerobic digester on the Jordan Dairy Farm in Rutland, Mass., funded through a loan guarantee from USDA Rural Development

Both webinars will originate from the Pyle Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  There is no charge to attend but registration is required. To register, visit the Farm Foundation website. You can either plan to attend the webinars in person, or you can watch from your home or office computer.

This is the third program in the Renewable Energy Education Field Day series.

To find out more about USDA’s renewable energy programs and resources, click here.

2 Responses to “USDA Encourages Farmers, Developers and Business Leaders to Learn How Anaerobic Digesters Can Reduce Pollution, Cut Energy Costs and Diversify Income”

  1. Julie Ito says:

    A double fix! This is a wonderful innovation which will hopefully benefit the farmers; as its potential to help the environment two fold.

  2. rwilymz says:

    [[A double fix! ]]

    Ohhh, Julie. You’re just the kind of True Believer they’re looking for: gullible and enthusiastic.

    For these manure percolators to be cost-effective they have to be able to produce enough methane that it can be used as its own energy source pretty much at will. …which means that it has to be kept fed with new manure pretty much constantly.

    And to keep feeding the thing new manure in a way that doesn’t take more energy driving around collecting it means that you have to have a LOT of cows, and either have them trained to poop in one spot [good luck on that] or they’re kept in one of those CAFOs that no one likes to talk about.

    And then there’s the chemistry of the thing. Methane is a greenhouse gas – booooo! It’s far more potent than that evil, evil CO2. So let’s burn it [yay!]. What does methane make when burned? CO2 and H2O, another greenhouse gas and water vapor … which is also a greenhouse gas, but one no one likes to talk about, because it’s also more potent than CO2, FAR more plentiful, and far more involved in the whole ‘global warming’ thing than any other red herring they have everyone worked up about.

    This program is a wash. It can be a marginally cost-effective activity for medium/large dairy or cattle operations, but for anyone else it’s only going to be a boondoggle.

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