Manure Conference to Explore Digesters for Small and Medium Farms

Mark your calendars for Jan. 29 in Stevens Point.

Published on: Dec 17, 2007

Do you think that manure digesters are only for large livestock farms? Do you think the only use for digesters is to make methane for electricity?

If you answered yes to either question, then you need to attend the third annual manure bio-conversion technology conference, "Role of Methane Digesters on Small and Medium Sized Livestock Farms," slated for Tuesday, Jan. 29, Country Springs Conference and Convention Center, Stevens Point.
"Quite simply, the conference focus is how to make money from manure," explained Timm Johnson, executive director, Wisconsin Agricultural Stewardship Initiative. "Attendees will learn how to convert manure into value-added products by digestion. Although electricity is an option, this conference will explore other potential products like animal bedding, heat for buildings, and alternative fuels for vehicles," Johnson explained.

Conference speakers include:

  • Jim Harsdorf, operator of a 250-cow dairy in River Falls, Wis. and former state agriculture secretary. Harsdorf will look at digesters from the producer viewpoint and how the digester should meet the "triple bottom line" aspects of regulatory standards, good neighbor standards and milk production.
  • Brandon Moffat, with Conestoga-Rovers, Ontario, Canada. Moffat will look at the pros and cons of small digester projects and show a video of a 100-cow dairy farm in Ontario, Canada that uses a digester.
  • John Vrieze, Emerald and Baldwin Dairies, Baldwin, Wis. Vrieze and associates will present a panel discussion on a collaborative digester project using multiple dairies to pipe methane from individual farms to a central location.
  • Rod Nilsestuen, Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will offer closing remarks and discuss the opportunities that bio-energy offers Wisconsin agriculture and the Upper Midwest.

Conference attendees can also select one of four breakout sessions:

  • Using methane gas to produce electricity and use of micro-turbines.
  • Using methane for heating greenhouses, homes, shops or drying wood.
  • Alternative fuel-vehicles, powered by methane.
  • More efficient separation of liquids and solids for use of bio-solids as animal bedding.

Register on-line or by mail. Or call (608) 224-5041 to have registration materials sent to you. The conference fee is $65 if you register by January 25. Late registration or day of conference fee is $75. Lunch, a CD-ROM tool kit and conference material packet are included in the cost.

The conference is sponsored by the Wisconsin Agricultural Stewardship Initiative in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.