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Clean Energy: Methane Digesters
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Turning Manure into Power

Cows feeding
“Diversification of our farm is a path to staying viable on a New England dairy. . . ."

In the United States, the cows, chickens, pigs and sheep we raise for food release 28 percent of all methane gas. About 85 percent of this methane is produced while animals chew and process their food but 15 percent of animal agricultural methane emissions are released from the “lagoons” used to store untreated farm animal waste—waste that we might be able to turn into electrical energy, eliminating the methane in the process.

Peter Melnik is a fourth-generation dairy farmer, milking 250 Holsteins on Barway Farms in Deerfield, Mass. He’s one of five farms who have formed a co-op called AGreen Energy. Their goal is to reduce their carbon footprint, generate renewable energy and preserve agricultural communities in their state by adding methane digesters to their farms.

“Diversification of our farm is a path to staying viable on a New England dairy. It’s important to be able to manage our manure and control odors since we’re in an increasingly urban area. The digester is another enterprise on the farm. With the AGreen Energy model we can be successful—making good environmental stewardship advances and still make this pay!”

Dairy digesters are among many different opportunities for producers that will help them provide eco-benefits while being compensated under clean energy/climate change legislation.  And in the case of Barway Farms, a way to sustain their operation during severe  economic times facing the dairy industry.

Get More Information about how Farmers Can Benefit from Using Methane Digesters:



American Farmland Trust