In Vermont the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is all about improving water quality in Lake Champlain
Our new “Watershed Digester” concept interconnects a variety of known practices and technologies for a result greater than the sum of its parts. It is ideally suited for dairy regions with serious water quality problems caused in large part by phosphorus runoff from farms.
By quantitatively demonstrating a reduction in phosphorus, farms are now able to access grants and incentives that focus on water quality. In many regions this means the farm’s EQIP allocation from NRCS. Hundreds of thousands of dollars made available each farm bill.
For example, the environmental focus in Vermont is high phosphorus levels in Lake Champlain. Fortunately, when digesting is combined with the separation of liquids and solids, it becomes more manageable because the bedding solids contain a higher level of phosphorus and the liquid fraction significantly less than raw manure. Along with less phosphorus, the liquid digestate has higher liquidity so it is more easily drag lined and injected in fields. If the excess or used bedding solids can be moved off the farm, it further reduces overall phosphorous levels – and Agricultural Digesters LLC has found some markets for these solids.