Dairy Producers to Work on Curbing GHG Emissions

While government agencies work at implementing programs to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions emitting from industry and transportation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. dairy producers have agreed to accelerate adoption of innovative manure-to-energy projects on American dairy farms to help curb GHGs.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, part of Dairy Management, Inc., signed a memorandum of understanding in mid-December that will have USDA and dairy producers working together to reach a 25 percent reduction in GHG emissions by the year 2020. USDA will do so by undertaking research initiatives, allowing implementation flexibility, and enhancing marketing efforts of anaerobic digesters to dairy producers.

Anaerobic digester technology is a proven method of converting waste products, such as manure, into electricity. The technology utilizes generators that are fueled by methane captured from the animal manure. Currently, only about two percent of U.S. dairies that are candidates for a profitable digester are utilizing the technology. Dairy operations with anaerobic digesters routinely generate enough electricity to power 200 homes.

Through the agreement, USDA and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy will increase the number of anaerobic digesters supported by USDA programs. Beyond promoting the digesters, the agreement will encourage research and development of new technologies to help dairies reduce GHG emissions.

February 2010 RENDER | back