Balloon covering manure pit Suparirk/Thinkstock

DFA, Vanguard partner to expand use of anaerobic digestion

Anaerobic digesters that convert manure to energy are not broadly used in U.S.

Dairy Farmers of America and Vanguard Renewables have partnered to bring anaerobic digestion to farms across the country.

DFA is a national farmer-owned dairy cooperative and Vanguard Renewables is a Massachusetts-based renewable energy developer. 

Anaerobic digesters that convert manure to energy are not broadly used on American dairy farms. These systems often require major capital expense to implement as well as significant expertise and time commitment to manage. For these reasons, among others, farmers have been reluctant to invest in the technology, despite the benefits. 

“With this partnership, we hope to make anaerobic digestion more available to more farmers, which is not only good for the environment, but will also help our farmer families run their businesses more efficiently, and that’s a win-win,” said David Darr, president of farm services at DFA.

Working with farmers, government agencies, dairy processors and retailer customers, the partners will build business cases for innovative systems. For those business models that meet financial thresholds, Vanguard Renewables will provide capital investment for anaerobic digestion systems on DFA member farms. Vanguard also will help oversee and monitor the on-site operation of the digester on DFA member farms. 

“Truth is, anaerobic digesters are extremely complex systems and could easily become a full-time job for a farmer to manage,” said John Hanselman, executive chairman at Vanguard Renewables. “We want to help farms by streamlining the development process and by providing professional operation. DFA is the perfect partner to make anaerobic digestion accessible as a mainstream technology on dairy farms across the country, addressing DFA member needs in a sustainable economy.”

Vanguard Farm Powered anaerobic digestion systems are operating on two DFA member farms, with the goal of adding more soon with this new DFA/Vanguard alliance. 

Source: DFA

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