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Investment in biogas could be a boon for livestock farms

A dairy farmer says federal support of renewable energy projects could accelerate sustainable and economic viability on farms.

Fair Oaks Farms founder Mike McCloskey says anerobic digesters come with a big price tag which is why he believes Congress should offer investment tax credits of 30 percent and stacking of USDA programs to help small and medium-sized farms invest in renewable energy projects and maintain a reliable market.

“We believe that regenerative farming, sustainable farming, these digesters, and these investments in how we’re farming is incredibly important, but not everyone can afford them.”

McCloskey says biogas projects have not received the same level of support from USDA as have wind and solar.

“If the sun’s not shining or the wind isn’t blowing, we’re still producing energy and we are doing so many other great things at the farm level.”

Since 2002, UDSA has invested nearly $3 billion in more than 6,000 solar projects and nearly $470 million for nearly 700 wind projects, compared to more than 600 investments in anaerobic digestion worth less than $200 million.

McCloskey says digesters like his also aid in nutrient recovery, protecting water quality and mitigating farm odors and pests, as well as can break down foodwaste to generate even more power.

McCloskey testified during a recent U.S. House On-Farm Energy Production committee hearing.

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