Friday, October 8, 2010

USDA Officials Tour Vermont Dairy Farm's Anaerobic Digester

A team of USDA officials today visited a North Troy dairy farm that is using an innovative technology to convert farm waste products, such as manure, into electricity. The project was funded with assistance from USDA.

"Anaerobic digesters like the one here at Chaput Family Farms will benefit our environment as well as America's dairy farmers, who can profit from the production and sale of this renewable energy source," said Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Vicky Drew. "In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the collection of methane, the digester will also reduce energy needed to produce and haul bedding to the farm by recycling the manure onsite into a dry bedding material for the cows, creating a closed-loop system."

USDA Rural Development Vermont State Director Molly Lambert added, "Expanding the nation's renewable energy sources is a priority of the Obama Administration and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and is consistent with a Memorandum of Understanding the United States signed in Copenhagen last December to work together with dairy producers to reduce greenhouse emissions by 25 percent by 2020." She was joined on the tour by Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator Judith Canales and Farm Service Agency State Executive Director Robert Paquin.

The 300 kilowatt anaerobic digester system that the USDA officials toured at Chaput Family Farms will digest manure from a dairy herd, produce biogas and combust the gas to generate renewable energy on a continuous basis, and provide digester effluent for use as crop fertilizer and for cow bedding material. USDA Rural Development helped finance the digester with a loan and grant through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), authorized through the 2008 Farm Bill.

"This project highlights the way USDA agencies are working together to help rural farmers and businesses," Canales said. "Supporting our farmers in projects like this is good for them, good for the environment, and good for businesses and residents throughout the community."

Chaput's digester is the first to go online through Vermont's Standard Offer Program. The state will pay the farm a fixed price of 16 cents per kilowatt hour for the next 20 years. In addition, the farm will receive a renewable energy credit of 4 cents per kWh for the next five years through Central Vermont Power Service's "Cow Power Program."

The farm will produce all of its on-farm electricity, heat, hot water and bedding for the cows. It will sell the excess power to the local utility. The excess bedding will be sold to local farms.

Source : Press Release

See Also :
Producing Electricity From Cow Power

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