About $6.4 million in anaerobic digester funding for Wisconsin’s small dairies (defined as under 700 head of cattle) was announced earlier this summer by Focus on Energy to bridge the gap between the state’s dairy majority and access to locally-produced energy, organic products and manure management. Approximately $500,000 in funding is available per project, with a grant application deadline of September 25, 2015.
BIOFerm, a Wisconsin-based anaerobic digester company, is also assistance to farm’s to help farmers understanding how their operation can fit into the Focus on Energy program. BIOFerm’s experience includes three successful anaerobic digestion projects in Wisconsin made possible with Focus on Energy funding, including small farm anaerobic digestion.
Although the producers of Wisconsin’s dairy items are primarily “located on approximately 12,000 small to medium sized dairy farms,” the ability for the state’s dairy producers to utilize their manure with anaerobic digestion has traditionally been confined to operations larger than 800 cows, according to Focus on Energy.
Anaerobic digestion of manure can provide a variety of advantages to dairy farms. Some benefits include: creation of continuous on-farm electricity, heat, or vehicle fuel; odor reduction; energy offset; manure and nutrient management; organic byproducts such as livestock bedding or compost and fertilizer; and increased farm sustainability.