How Dairy Farmers Are Turning Manure Into Money

How Dairy Farmers Are Turning Manure Into Money

Digesters are being utilized in dairies to recycle manure into biogas and fertilizer.

They are also being used to reduce the impact of food waste.

We are proud to be working with Vanguard Renewables on many of these projects.

How Diary Farmers Are Turning Manure Into Money –

Article in Smithsonian Magazine

Article Excerpts:

“In the early 2000s, when the price of milk plummeted and dairy farms everywhere were trying to find a way to diversify, the Barstows began thinking about how to stay alive. They decided to take full advantage of an underutilized commodity the cows produced in abundance, and build something called an anaerobic digester—basically, a manure-fueled power plant.”

“In 2013, Vanguard started trucking more than 24,000 tons of food waste each year, from local companies, such as Cabot Creamery and HP Hood, to the Barstows’ farm. “Manure is really just food waste that’s been digested once,” says Patrick Serfass, executive director of the American Biogas Council. “So when you take food waste that hasn’t been digested at all, it has 10 to 35 times more energy in it.” Allocating just 10 percent of a digester’s volume to food waste doubles the biogas yield. “If we don’t recycle this food waste, it’s just going to be buried,” Serfass says.

“By partnering with Vanguard, farmers relieve themselves of the construction and operating burdens but still reap significant benefits. Their manure is handled in a way that reduces nutrient runoff into local watersheds, which is regulated by the state. Neighbors are happy, since there’s little odor. The solid plant-fiber byproducts from the digester can be used as bedding for the cows (the price of sawdust keeps increasing), and the liquid digestate is rich in nitrogen, which makes it an excellent fertilizer. Farms receive a 20-year guaranteed lease payment from Vanguard, and some also receive credits from their energy providers.”

Full article HERE