World Dairy Diary

Dairy Industry Applauds White House Strategy

America’s dairy farmers, cooperatives, processors, manufacturers, and other industry leaders applaud today’s announcement by the White House of a Biogas and Energy Roadmap to reduce methane emissions from agriculture.

In its announcement, the White House formally cited the work of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy’s Sustainability Council, whose efforts in part include a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to proactively reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including methane.

“This announcement validates the path the dairy industry is on – one focused on proactive incentives that can increase farm income, not punitive regulations that would add more costs,” said Jim Mulhern, president and chief executive officer of the National Milk Producers Federation, which develops and carries out policies that advance the well-being of dairy farmers and the cooperatives they own. “Because of our recent efforts and farmers’ long-standing environmental stewardship, the White House strategy for agriculture includes a commitment to cost-effective, voluntary actions to reduce methane emissions through partnerships and programs.”

A Biogas and Energy Roadmap will be developed in partnership with the dairy industry to accelerate the adoption of biogas systems and other cost-effective technologies. For example, the recovery of nitrogen and phosphorus, valuable soil nutrients, has the potential to make these systems revenue-enhancing for dairy farms of all sizes. The roadmap will help the industry seize these opportunities by:

– Breaking down inter-governmental agency barriers, providing dairy operations access to resources because it formally recognizes biogas systems as a proven and effective technology to mitigate environmental risks;
– Stimulating and accelerating research to advance technologies, such as for extracting nutrients from food waste and manure; and
– Attracting additional third-party investment, both financial and technical, to support the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment.

Through the Innovation Center, the dairy industry ramped up its efforts to build business value while reducing environmental impact across the value chain more than five years ago. These efforts provide a way for dairy farm families to turn environmental risks into new revenue streams, and demonstrate farmers’ ongoing commitment to being even better neighbors.

“This is great news for America’s dairy farm families of all sizes across the country,” said Tom Gallagher, chief executive officer of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, which brings together leaders of dairy farmer organizations, cooperatives, processors, manufacturers, and brands to foster innovation. “For decades, dairy farmers have demonstrated a commitment to environmental stewardship, and adopting new practices and technologies along the path to continuous improvement. Our work continues.”

Biogas systems have been singled out because of the significant potential they have to help address methane, which are the single largest source of dairy’s greenhouse gas emissions. These systems recycle cow manure and food waste into valuable co-products like fertilizer, renewable energy and cow bedding. New technologies can optimize this potential and deliver economic benefits to dairy farms and those they work with, as well as the communities in which they operate.

“The roadmap makes good sense – not just for dairy, but for rural communities that realize economic benefits, including job creation, through innovation,” Gallagher said.

Dairies to See More Opportunities to Turn Waste to Energy

usda-logoThe U.S. Department of Agriculture extends the deadline on a program that could see more farmers, especially those in the dairy industry, turning livestock waste into energy. The deadline to submit for funds under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and Dairy Industry Memorandum of Understanding has been extended to to May 31, 2013. During a teleconference moderated by Jerry Bingold from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, the USDA’s Energy Policy Advisor for Rural Development Todd Campbell said this is a top priority of his agency.

“Taking biomass feedtsock and creating renewable energy, helping to implement enhanced manure management techniques, it not only helps our dairy farmers across the country to continue to be the great stewards of the land, it makes also makes real dollars and cents in their farming operations,” Campbell said.

Kelley Oehler, USDA’s Branch Chief Energy Division said the budget battles that have resulted in continuing resolutions, instead of real federal budgets, actually helped more money go to REAP.

“We’re still working with budget to identify the specific amount, but what I can tell you is it is significantly more than the [$20.8 million original amount announced in the March 29, 2013 deadline],” Oehler said.

More money meant they needed more time to give out the grants for things such as grants for under $20,000 programs, feasibility study grants (up to $50,000), and grants and combination grants-loans for things like biodigesters (which could be up to $500,000 for those digesters) that dairy farmers can use to turn waste into energy. Guaranteed loan-only deadlines remain at July 15, 2013. (More information available here.) Another program, the 9005 Program (for advanced biofuels payments made from things, such as biodigesters) will have a notice go out shortly that will have an additional 30 days, usually sometime in October.

Meanwhile, Campbell and Oehler praised the recent renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed to accelerate the adoption of innovative waste-to-energy projects and energy efficiency improvements on U.S. dairy farms, both of which help producers diversify revenues and reduce utility expenses on their operations. The original MOU was signed in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009.

“Through the renewed commitment, the USDA, working with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, will continue the research, development and deployment of these technologies that are helping to make dairy farmers’ operations more sustainable,” Campbell said.

Listen to an edited version of the teleconference here: USDA Teleconference on REAP

ISU Seeks Input on DDGs

cattle eating distillers grainsIowa State University is conducting a survey of livestock producers use of feed-related co-products from ethanol production (distillers grains). The survey is focused on the beef, dairy, swine and poultry sectors. It is being funded by a coalition consisting of the Renewable Fuels Association, the Distillers Grains Technology Council and the Corn Utilization Councils from Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska.

“The feedback gained from the survey will be used to help improve co-product quality, which can help livestock producers with their feed costs and livestock performance,” said Kurt Rosentrater, a professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, who is leading the effort.

Livestock producers are invited to take the survey online until June 19, 2013.

USDA and Dairy Industry Renew MOU

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack today renewed a historic agreement with U.S. dairy producers to accelerate the adoption of innovative waste-to-energy projects and energy efficiency improvements on U.S. dairy farms, both of which help producers diversify revenues and reduce utility expenses on their operations. The pact extends a Memorandum of Understanding signed in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009.

usda-logo “Through this renewed commitment, USDA and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy will continue research that helps dairy farmers improve the sustainability of their operations,” Vilsack said. “This vital research also will support the dairy industry as it works to reach its long-term goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020.”

The Secretary signed the agreement this afternoon at the White House and was joined by representatives of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and Dairy Management, including Thomas P. Gallagher, CEO of the center. One objective of the MOU is to increase the construction of anaerobic digesters and explore innovative ways to use products previously considered waste streams from dairy production, processing and handling.

USDA support for agricultural and waste-to-energy research has played a key role in the agreement’s success to date. Since signing the MOU, USDA has made nearly 180 awards that helped finance the development, construction, and biogas production of anaerobic digester systems with Rural Development programs, such as the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program, Value Added Producer Grants, amongst others. These systems capture methane and produce renewable energy for on-farm use and sale onto the electric grid. Additionally, during this period, USDA awarded approximately 140 REAP loans and grants to help dairy farmers develop other types of renewable energy and energy efficiency systems at their operations.

The Secretary was joined on a conference call to make the announcement by The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy CEO Tom Gallagher and Doug Young, a farmer from NY who has benefited from this MOU.

Listen to that call here: USDA/Dairy MOU press call

Healthy People, Healthy Product’s and A Healthy Planet

The National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s annual Trade Talk brought together agricultural journalists and leading agricultural companies to discuss industry issues.

The dairy industry was well represented and I took the opportunity to talk with a representative from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. Laura Mandell serves as the Vice President in Sustainability Communications, she shared with me how the U.S. dairy industry is working to increase the industry’s contributions to healthy people, healthy products and a healthy planet.

“When we think about sustainability the dairy producers define it as the ability to provide consumers with the nutritious products – dairy food & beverages – that they’ve come to enjoy in a way that they can ensure it is produced responsibly. Sustainability really means stewardship dairy farmers have a long heritage of providing, ensuring that they perserve their farm for future generations. That they are minimizing the impact on the environment, but also assuring that their farm is profitable as well. And the third piece of that is contributing to the growth and the viability to the communities in which producers work and live.”

On-farm energy efficiency is also a top priority for the Innovation Center. Tools, resources and financial assistance are now available to help dairy producers reduce energy and costs. If you are interested in finding out what you can do on your own farm, contact your local NRCS office and ask about EQIP.

Listen to my interview with Laura here: Laura Mandell - Innovation Center for US Dairy

2012 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Agriculture Energy Forum to Be Held

Want to better understand natural gas production on agriculture lands? Be sure to register for the Keystone Energy Forum’s “Agriculture Forum” on October 29th in Williamsport, Pa.

Held in partnership with the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania (PDMP) and PennAg Industries Association, the “Agricultural Forum” will focus on natural gas development and its interaction with Pennsylvania’s agricultural community.

The October forum will include two panel discussions focusing on natural gas activity in agricultural lands and cooperative discussions between both Agriculture and Natural Gas Industries. A luncheon will follow the panel discussions.

Recognizing the need to pre-emptively mitigate potential conflicts that may occur on farmland that is also being developed for natural gas exploration, the Keystone Energy Forum entered into an educational partnership with PDMP early in 2011 in an effort to expand each industry’s understanding of the other’s operational expectations and requirements.

Local energy operators will be joined on the panel by pipeline representatives, government regulators, conservationists and farmers to share current and future activities related to natural gas development and Pennsylvania’s agricultural lands.

While there is no cost to attend the forum or the luncheon, seating is limited so pre-registering for the forum and luncheon is encouraged. To register for this free forum, participants are asked to RSVP to PDMP at info@pdmp.org or by calling toll free 877-326-5993.

Source: Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania

Curtimade Dairy Goes Solar

Curtimade Dairy based in Tulare, California, has added solar energy into its agribusiness operations. The 100 year old, 3,000 cow dairy business recently completed the installation of a 719 kilowatt (kW) solar array featuring SunSeek Tracker, a technology developed by SPG Solar.  It is estimated Curtimade will save $145,000 per year in energy costs and fuels nearly 85 percent of the farm’s operations.

During an open house, Ben Curti, fourth-generation owner of Curtimade Dairy, said, “It’s the easiest crop we have; it just sits there, produces and I can count on it to keep making me money. For agricultural businesses here in the Central Valley, solar makes sense since it helps us lower our operating costs and improve our bottom line.”

In Tulare County, they are helping local businesses save on energy costs by adding solar energy. One goal is to create an easier process to get a solar permit.

“It was a fantastic opportunity for producers to see a large-scale system up close and get comfortable with the technology,” added Dylan Dupre, SPG Solar’s vice president of business development. “The open house allowed us to show them how they can go solar with no upfront capital outlay, see immediate savings in Year 1, and gain long-term control of their energy prices.”

Cheese Waste Product Powers Utah State Dragster

A team of engineering students from Utah State University has set a new land speed record using a car that burns a new form of sustainable biofuel made from a waste product of the cheese manufacturing process.

“How many people get to drive a car they helped build with fuel they created from a living microorganism?” asks USU undergrad biochemist Michael R. Morgan, who drove the dragster across Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats Speedway to its landmark finish earlier this month.

The Aggie A-Salt Streamliner, as it’s officially known, runs on yeast biodiesel derived from the industrial waste of cheese production. The sleek, Aggie-blue hot rod was among some 200 high-tech racers competing at the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association’s 2012 World of Speed event Sept. 8-11.

At its top speed, the Aggie vehicle clocked in at 65.344 miles per hour. At first glance, that speed may fail to impress NASCAR fans or even most interstate motorists. But make no mistake; it’s a head-turning achievement for a biofueled vehicle with a one-liter, two-cylinder engine. The USU team raced the dragster in separate runs, using petroleum diesel and the yeast biofuel, respectively. Powered with the latter, the speedster was able to match its previous petroleum-fueled run.

“Developing a biofuel on a large enough scale to run in the dragster was a tough undertaking,” says USU biochemist Alex McCurdy, a third-year doctoral student in Seefeldt’s lab, who is supported by a National Science Foundation research assistantship and is the recent recipient of a departmental environmental chemistry award. “It’s one thing to produce a small amount in the lab and discuss how it will work in theory. It’s another to actually put it in a dragster, while everyone watches it take off.”

Read more from USU.

Dairy Producer Supports Farm Bill Energy Programs

The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry was urged to reauthorize Farm Bill energy programs and provide them with mandatory funding during a hearing on “Formulation of the 2012 Farm Bill: Energy and Forestry Programs” on Friday.

Steve Reinford of Reinford Farms in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania testified about how investing in an anaerobic digester with the help of USDA incentives has helped them reduce manure odors, create cow bedding, dry grain, pasteurize calf milk, and produce electricity.

“We are powering our whole farm along with 80 to 100 homes,” he said of the system that was partially funded through a REAP (Rural Energy for America program) grant. “Without the support of the USDA and the state, we will start lOSing ground in this technology on a lot of dairy farms.”

Read Reinford’s testimony here.

Webinars Available on Digester Systems

Two educational webinars, planned for March 14, will examine finance issues and technology options for installing and maintaining anaerobic digester systems.

The webinars, each three hours in length, will address two critical issues in the decision-making process: financing installation and operation of a digester system, as well as the rate of return on the investment, and technology options–what they are and how they are used. The webinars are a collaboration of Farm Foundation, NFP, USDA Rural Development, USDA Office of Energy Policy & New Uses, 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.

Financing an Anaerobic Digester System: In this 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. webinar, dairy farmers and community leaders will share their first-hand experiences financing, installing and maintaining digester systems. You’ll also hear from commercial and private lenders with experience financing digester operations. Topics will include return on investment, private funding, government/private partnership funding options, cost of construction, potential revenue generation streams, avoided environmental costs, tax incentives and cost of operation, including management and labor costs.

Technical Aspects of Anaerobic Digester Systems: This 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. webinar will examine digester technologies–psychrophilic (covered lagoon), mesophilic (plug flow and completely mixed), and thermophilic (completely mixed). Farmer/operators will discuss why they selected a specific technology for their operation, as well as their operational and management experiences with those respective technologies.

Both webinars will originate from Rooms 325-326 of the Pyle Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. There is no charge to attend but registration is required. To register for either in-person or online viewing, visit the Farm Foundation, NFP website.

Source: Farm Foundation

Funding Available to Increase Energy Efficiency

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® — established by dairy producers in 2008 to foster industry-wide innovation and efficiencies — urges dairy producers interested in cutting on-farm energy costs to contact their local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office. Funding is available right now to help producers address on-farm energy use and increase efficiency.

“One of the goals of the Innovation Center Sustainability team is to work with state and local organizations to connect dairy producers with the energy and cost-saving opportunities that are immediately available,” said Barbara O’Brien, president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and senior executive vice president of Dairy Management Inc.™, which manages the dairy checkoff on behalf of the nation’s farmers. “While initiatives vary across the country, all regions offer assistance to offset the cost of farm energy audits as well as incentive and rebate programs to make equipment upgrades and retrofits more affordable.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding is available through NRCS for farm energy audits and equipment upgrades (available to those with qualifying audits). Producers should act now.

The first national application cutoff is Feb. 3. More details can be found through local NRCS field offices. An on-farm energy audit, also known as an Agricultural Energy Management Plan (AgEMP), is a vital decision-making tool. An energy audit can identify improvements that could reduce energy use by 10 to 35 percent — most often in areas such as lighting, milk cooling, ventilation, vacuum pumps and electric water heating.

Saving energy directly translates to cost savings and improved profitability for dairy operations. On average dairy producers spend $40 per cow per year on electricity. Improved energy efficiency can mean $4 to $14 savings per cow. This can translate into thousands of dollars per year.

Producers can learn about financial assistance opportunities in one of three ways: 1) call an energy expert at 800-732-1399; 2) contact a local NRCS field office; or 3) use the Innovation Center’s easy-to-use, SaveEnergy web tool.

Source: Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy®

SaveEnergy Resource for Farmers

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® has launched the SaveEnergy online resource that connects dairy producers to financial assistance programs and educational materials to help them reduce on-farm energy use and related costs. The tool is part of the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment, an effort established by dairy producers to reduce environmental impact and create business value across the supply chain.

Through an agreement with the Innovation Center, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) supported the development of the SaveEnergy tool to accelerate energy conservation and build awareness of the importance of on-farm energy audits, also known as Agricultural Energy Management Plans (AgEMPs). SaveEnergy is part of the Farm Energy Efficiency project, one of 10 projects of the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment.

Dairy producers can achieve greater energy efficiency by taking an important first step — conducting an energy audit on their farming operation. An on-farm energy audit inventories a dairy’s current systems and equipment, identifies the cost of energy used and provides a detailed recommendation about actions, upgrades and potential savings that could most benefit the farm. It typically takes less than four hours of the producer’s time and can identify opportunities to reduce energy use by 10 percent to 35 percent.

The SaveEnergy tool follows an easy three-step process:
Learn how to cut costs of on-farm energy use
Decide if an energy audit is right for the dairy operation
Find financial assistance for on-farm energy audits and equipment updates.

Source: Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy®

Crave Brothers Unveils Green Cow Label

Crave Brothers is promoting their commitment to the environment and renewable energy on the farm and in the farmstead cheese factory with a newly unveiled logo.

The new Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese logo features a dairy cow inside a green circle with the words “Produced with Renewable Energy.”

In producing their family of award-winning artisan cheeses, the Crave Brothers use 100% green power, and practice water conservation and recycling. Their commitment is evident in their land management practices and in the way they care for their cows. As a carbon-negative company, they produce more electricity with their bio digester generator than they use for their dairy farm and cheese plant. Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese goes one step further, too, inviting customers to join them in the quest for sustainability by reusing and recycling the cheese packaging. Customers can find this new logo on their cheese packages later in the year.

Crave Brothers Cheeses are created at a farmstead cheese factory in Waterloo, Wisconsin “where state-of-the-art technology promotes sustainability while maintaining traditional quality.”

Lakeland Dairy Adds Solar Energy to Operations

Adding a solar power system can give dairy operations a double-benefit. Solar can reduce you utility bills while at the same time helping your business become more sustainable. One dairy farm in Hanford, California has added a 891 kilowatt solar energy system designed and constructed by SPG Solar. It is comprised of 3,240 Suntech solar modules and two Solaron inverters. It is estimated that the system will generate more than 1.7 megawatt hours annually – enough to offset the dairy’s utility power usage by at least 75 percent.

The dairy installed a new solar energy system to power its milking barn and other dairy operations. The family-owned dairy has 7,000 head of cattle and a custom farming business. I don’t know about you but I’m thinking a California cow is a happy cow!

“The recent volatility of milk prices has underscored the importance of hedging our input costs,” said Mike Monteiro, the dairy’s owner. “The solar energy system will help us fix our energy costs and hedge against long term increases in utility power rates.”

The solar system spans four-acres and is robust enough to power Lakeside’s entire dairy operation including an 11,000 square foot milking barn, heifer corral lighting and fans, manure separator equipment and well and irrigation equipment. This is just one effort engaged by the diary operation to become more sustainable. The farm’s manure-handling equipment removes nearly 50 tons of solid manure a day, thus preventing it from going into the lagoon or giving off gases from decomposition.

“Lakeside Dairy continues to show its commitment to solar that positively impacts their operations today, reducing future electricity costs and investing in the community through the creation of green jobs,” said CEO and President of SPG Solar, Chris Robine. “They are laying out a long-term strategy towards the sustainable production and quality of food produced.”

Rabobank provided the construction and term financing for the solar project and will work with Lakeside to help them manage their finances as they pay off the loan. Gianluca Signorelli, Vice President of Renewable Energy Finance for Rabobank added, “By combining the savings from lower utility power bills with federal and state incentives, Rabobank structured the term loan to potentially be cash flow positive throughout the lifetime of the loan. Once the loan is repaid, the solar system is likely to create even larger savings for Lakeside Dairy.”

Project to Study Renewable Energy Production on Dairies

The dairy industry is working on a new national research project designed to “to advance the science and best management practices of renewable energy, environmental stewardship and life cycle analysis of dairy systems and processes.”

The joint project between the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy™, the Dairy Research Institute™ and Idaho’s Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) hopes to develop a national research program focused on enhancing the economic viability of dairy farms and rural communities.

“I’m pleased that the Innovation Center and our state resources through the CAES national research partnership are working collaboratively on renewable energy, sustainability and environmental impacts of the national dairy industry,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment. “The combined effort of private industry with state and federal partners is an example of sound use of public and private resources on behalf of Idaho and the rest of the United States.”

Among the objectives of the partnership are to collect baseline data on nutrient and manure management practices to assist in the identification of best practices for dairy farms; identify opportunities for dairy farms of all sizes to increase renewable energy production through anaerobic digesters, gasification and composting; and analyze the U.S. utility grid infrastructure, electric rates and renewable energy incentives applicable to dairy farm operations.

Source: Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy announcement

DFA Touts Environmental Stewardship

On Earth Day last week, Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA) released the results of an internal assessment that helped the cooperative to determine its carbon footprint.

“Whether it is in our plants, on the road or on member farms, we are working to ensure that DFA and our members’ legacies last for generations,” said David Darr, vice president of sustainability and public affairs. “This includes efforts in the areas of energy usage, transportation and animal care and wellness.”

The assessment found that DFA’s 21 wholly owned plants have completed or are planning 150 projects with a sustainability focus, from instituting new wastewater treatment programs to upgrading lighting systems. In addition, all five of DFA’s contract manufacturing plants have committed to the Energy Star Challenge, with a goal to reduce energy intensity by 10 percent or more within five years.

DFA also determined that average fuel efficiency among DFA’s transportation fleet increased over nine percent from 2009 to 2010. Adding larger-capacity milk trucks in some areas is also helping to increase efficiency.

On the farm level, over 30 DFA member farms conducted energy efficiency audits during 2010 in partnership with DFA’s Dairy Energy Services (DES) which identified an average annual savings of 31,922 kilowatt per dairy, for an average cost savings of $3,494. DES is also conducting wind and solar power assessments for member farms.

Turkey Hill to Use Wind Power

Turkey Hill Dairy will be receiving a quarter of its annual electricity needs from the new wind turbine power project at neighboring Frey Farm.

In partnership with PPL Renewable Energy and Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA), the Frey Farm Wind Turbine project includes two wind turbines that will generate about 25 percent of Turkey Hill Dairy’s annual electricity needs. That equals enough power to produce six million gallons of ice cream and 15 million gallons of iced tea each year.

February 2011 marked the first full month the wind turbines were online and producing power. Over 769,677 kilowatt hours of electricity were generated, providing 32 percent of the Dairy’s electricity needs for the month.

“We are so excited by our new use of wind power and all the opportunities that reduce our environmental footprint,” said Turkey Hill Dairy President Quintin Frey. “Our support for renewable energy stems from our strong commitment to a sustainable future in Lancaster County and all of the communities we serve across the United States.”

The wind turbine venture is just one of the projects undertaken by the Dairy’s sustainability program instituted in 2003. Program initiatives include waste recycling and reduction, decreases in fuel usage through reduced transportation loads and distances, cuts in packaging material, and the use of steam power, which provides at least 75 percent of the Dairy’s hot water needs.

All the power generated by the twin General Electric wind turbines will be purchased by Turkey Hill Dairy. The turbines were installed on October 28, 2010. After finalizing the installation, the wind turbines officially began producing power on January 10, 2011.

According to PPL Renewable Energy, generating the same amount of electricity using fossil fuels would add about 5,900 tons per year of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is equivalent annually to any one of the environmental efforts listed below:
Removing 1,000 cars from the road
Reducing gasoline consumption by 600,000 gallons
12,000 fewer barrels of oil imported into the United States

Source: Turkey Hill Dairy

USDA Awards Bioenergy Producer Payments to Dairies

More than a dozen dairy operations are getting bioenergy producer payments from USDA as incentives to produce advanced biofuels. Under the Farm Bill, the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels authorizes payments to eligible producers to expand production and use of advanced biofuels.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the payments Thursday for over 120 operations in 33 states to support the production and usage of advanced biofuels. Payments, which range from less than $500 to over $1 million, are based on the amount of advanced biofuels a recipient produces from renewable biomass, other than corn kernel starch. Eligible examples include biofuels derived from cellulose, crop residue, animal, food and yard waste material, biogas (landfill and sewage waste treatment gas), vegetable oil and animal fat.

“This funding will help the nation’s advanced biofuel industry produce more fuel from sustainable rural resources, and in doing so create jobs, a new revenue stream for agriculture producers and stimulate rural economies across the nation,” said Vilsack.

Among the dairy operations receiving payments are: Scenic View Dairy in Michigan; West River Dairy in Minnesota; Bridgewater Dairy in Ohio; Berkshire Cow Power and Green Mountain Dairy in Vermont; Holsum Dairies, Green Valley Dairy, Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, Quantum Dairy, Clover Hill Dairy, and Grotegut Dairy Farm in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Dairies Honored for Energy Excellence

Two Wisconsin dairies were recently honored with the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Energy Management that recognizes businesses dedicated to adopting energy-efficient and sustainable practices in Wisconsin.
Focus on Energy
, a state program partnering with utility companies worked with the dairies to implement energy-saving efforts and continue to investigate new technologies and find more ways to save energy throughout their businesses.

Peterson’s Dairy LLC of Lena has saved more than 147,000 kWh of electricity annually since 2008. To reduce energy use, the dairy installed a plate heat exchanger on its milk pipeline; added a variable-frequency drive on its milk vacuum pumps; and is utilizing a plate heat exchanger on its well water pre-cooler. These efforts add up to $11,000 in annual energy cost savings. According to owner Arne Peterson, “The energy efficient equipment will pay for itself in one and a half to five years.”

Since 2009, Rosendale Dairy of Pickett has saved more than 3.6 million kWh of electricity and 6,000 therms of natural gas annually. To reduce energy use, Rosendale Dairy utilizes heat-recovery tanks; invested in plate heat exchangers on its milk pipelines; added variable-frequency drives on its dairy vacuum pumps and milk transfer pumps; upgraded to energy-efficient lighting; installed an energy efficient water heater; and installed energy-efficient livestock waterers. These efforts add up to $288,000in annual energy cost savings.

“Rosendale Dairy is always looking for ways in which it can be more efficient in every aspect, especially in energy use,” said Todd Willer, Rosendale Dairy partner. “This is crucial to us as a business as well as a part of Wisconsin’s business community and in our relationship with all of our neighbors.”

New Compost Facility Opens

Pennsylvania has a new composting facility, Oregon Dairy Organics, which will use up to 20,000 tons of manure from a Lancaster County farm, Oregon Dairy.

The Hurst family, which operates the dairy along with an adjacent grocery store, partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund and Terra-Gro Inc. of Peach Bottom, Pa., on the project.

The 5-acre facility will initially use bedded packed manure from the farm to make compost. But the goal is to eventually open it up to other area farmers with excess manure to bring their waste in.

There are also plans to take in food waste and possibly green waste, including grass clippings and leaves, in the future.

There are five hoop houses on the site. One will be used for screening and loading waste coming into the facility. Another will be used for active composting. Two other buildings will be used for storage, and a fifth will be used as a utility building.

The facility has the capacity to produce 16,000 cubic yards of compost a year.

George Hurst, owner of Oregon Dairy, said the facility will enable the farm to better deal with bedded packed manure, which he said is not as useful on the farm because of its no-till plantings. Hurst said it will also allow for possible expansion of the current 1,000-head herd, 500 of which are milking.

It will allow us to export some manure and allow for continued expansion in the future, Hurst said, adding that the facility will process around 30 percent of the total manure currently produced at the farm.

The compost will be sold wholesale, Martin said, with most of it eventually ending up in landscaping, athletics fields and as specialized topsoil blends.

Hurst said there is a possibility in the future that some of the compost may be sold for retail at the Oregon Dairy store.

Source: Lancaster Farming


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