Manure Manager

Features Applications Beef
USDA officials tour Vermont dairy’s AD


October 12, 2010
By USDA

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October 8, 2010, North
Troy, VT – A team of USDA officials visited a North Troy dairy farm that is
using an innovative technology to convert farm waste products, such as manure,
into electricity. The project was funded with assistance from USDA.
October 8, 2010, North
Troy, VT – A team of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials visited a North Troy dairy farm that is
using an innovative technology to convert farm waste products, such as manure,
into electricity. The project was funded with assistance from the USDA.

“Anaerobic digesters like
the one here at Chaput Family Farms will benefit our environment as well as
America's dairy farmers, who can profit from the production and sale of this
renewable energy source,” said Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
state conservationist Vicky Drew. “In addition to reducing greenhouse gas
emissions through the collection of methane, the digester will also reduce
energy needed to produce and haul bedding to the farm by recycling the manure
onsite into a dry bedding material for the cows, creating a closed-loop
system.”

“Expanding the nation’s
renewable energy sources is a priority of the Obama Administration and
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and is consistent with a Memorandum of Understanding
the United States signed in Copenhagen last December to work together with
dairy producers to reduce greenhouse emissions by 25 percent by 2020,” said
USDA Rural Development Vermont state director Molly Lambert.

She was joined on the tour
by Rural Business-Cooperative Service administrator Judith Canales and Farm
Service Agency
state executive director Robert Paquin.

The 300-kilowatt anaerobic
digester system at Chaput Family Farms will digest manure from a dairy herd,
produce biogas and combust the gas to generate renewable energy on a continuous
basis, and provide digester effluent for use as crop fertilizer and for cow
bedding material. USDA Rural Development helped finance the digester with a
loan and grant through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), authorized
through the 2008 Farm Bill.

“This project highlights
the way USDA agencies are working together to help rural farmers and
businesses,” Canales said. “Supporting our farmers in projects like this is
good for them, good for the environment, and good for businesses and residents
throughout the community.”

Chaput’s digester is the
first to go online through Vermont's Standard Offer Program. The state will pay
the farm a fixed price of 16 cents per kilowatt hour for the next 20 years. In
addition, the farm will receive a renewable energy credit of four cents per kWh
for the next five years through Central Vermont Power Service’s Cow Power
Program
.

The farm will produce all
of its on-farm electricity, heat, hot water and bedding for the cows. It will
sell the excess power to the local utility. The excess bedding will be sold to
local farms.

Chaput Family Farms is a
partnership of brothers Reg and Mike Chaput. Their legal partnership began in
1991 and was the result of the consolidation of four farms owned individually
by Reg, Mike and their father, Leo. The 1,800-acre farm milks about 830 cows.
The digester was constructed to accommodate future expansion and is designed to
handle manure from 1,600 mature cows plus young stock. The farm has also
participated in EQIP to improve water quality concerns around the barnyard.