In early 2023 two of our farm/clients were offered $390,000 and $450,000 respectively for potential use toward the development of methane digesters. This was somewhat unexpected since these Environmental Quality Improvement Program (EQIP) funds from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Vermont had traditionally been reserved for projects that focused maximum benefit to water quality, especially in the Lake Champlain watershed. Phosphorus runoff from dairy farms is a major cause of water quality problems nationally.

Fortunately, a biodigester in northern Vermont not only increases greenhouse gas mitigation, it also provides greater manure management flexibility. Digested manure is more “plant available” than raw manure. In addition, when separated into solid and liquid fractions, the solids can be used as bedding for the cows or transported off the farm to be sold as compost. The liquid fraction can be draglined and injected, which reduces phosphorus runoff into lakes and streams.

In Vermont the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is all about improving water quality in Lake Champlain.

NRCS also assisted one of the farms with a new manure pit in recent years.