Although renewable energy methods, like anaerobic digesters that convert manure to energy, offer solutions to the waste management and sustainability challenges facing the dairy industry, they are not broadly used on American dairy farms. The major capital expense requirements and the significant expertise and time commitment needed to manage them keep many farmers reluctant to invest in the technology.
“Dairy farmers have always been great stewards of the land. But, like any business, farmers must continue to innovate and evolve,” said David Darr, president of farm services at DFA. “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.”
DFA and Vanguard Renewables will develop resilient business models using anaerobic digestion systems and work with farmers, government agencies, dairy processors and retailer customers to build business cases for innovative systems. Vanguard Renewables will also provide capital investment for anaerobic digestion systems on DFA member farms that cannot make the financial commitment on their own.
“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.”