Dairy farmers are always searching for ways to diversify and add value to their businesses. Many are quickly seeing benefits of using manure as an alternative revenue source.
With 10 years of experience working with the compressed natural gas (CNG) industry, Brian Dolski, chief financial officer of Pagel Family Businesses in Kewaunee, Wis., has a broad perspective.
“There is plenty of room in the industry to support projects from Wisconsin dairy farms,” he said. “There are a lot of moving parts and mouths to feed, but farmers could potentially receive $1,200 per cow per year after installing a digester.”
Processing manure in a digester is becoming more common around the Midwest. In its various forms, manure can be used on the farm or sold. While it has its unique challenges, it can serve as livestock bedding or be used for electricity and natural gas.
Entering into an agreement involving a digester requires farmers and all other parties to assess how much risk they’re willing to take, including with the needed workforce, Jordan Hemaidan, a lawyer with Michael Best, said.
Agreements are created based on a farmer’s current setup as well as plans for the future,” Hemaidan said. Manure purchase agreements, leases and biogas agreements are all dependent upon risk level.
“From the farmer perspective, be very careful about who gets what risk,” he said. “Go into this with eyes wide open.”
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