Dairy digester project featured during EPA visit

An Environmental Protection Agency Regional Director says anaerobic digesters are a solution for waste management and capturing farm emissions.

EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore tells Brownfield the agency, along with USDA, is working to accelerate anaerobic digestion capacity to reduce methane emissions and divert food waste from landfills while generating a renewable energy source, “I think this model with an independent operator and manager so the farmer can focus on what they do best, may be the successful way that we can build out,” she says.

She visited Horning Farms outside of Ann Arbor Friday which will be working with Vanguard Renewables to use the farm’s manure along with food waste from southeast Michigan to create renewable natural gas.

Sixth-generation dairy farmer Mason Horning says the family has been searching for ways to better manage manure storage and the project will allow for expansion without increasing their herd, “We’re actually in need of manure storage right now,” he shares.  “We’ve been waiting about four years to try to expand our manure storage, we only have two months of storage, which isn’t sufficient.”

Horning expects more dairies to add the technology and says they should, “Consider what it can be doing for you, doing for your neighbors and doing for your farm business,” he shares. “There’s a lot of aspects in this digester that are only going to benefit everybody around us.”

Shore says funding is available from USDA and EPA through the Inflation Reduction Act to support similar digester projects.

Region 5 also includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana.

Brownfield’s Nicole Heslip filed the story from Regional Administrator Shore’s visit.

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