Biogas Opportunities Roadmap for Dairy Farms

Jamie JohansenAg Group, Biogas, Dairy, energy, usda

The White House on Friday released a Biogas Opportunities Roadmap highlighting the economic and environmental benefits and potential for biogas systems in the U.S. According to the Roadmap, biogas systems offer a wide range of potential revenue streams, growing jobs and boosting economic development for communities, businesses and dairy farms. The systems work by recycling organic material — including cow manure and food waste — into valuable co-products such as renewable energy, fertilizer, separated nutrients and cow bedding.

To develop the Roadmap, The White House worked with the dairy industry through the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, which was established under the leadership of dairy farmers, and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Energy (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The Innovation Center brings together leaders of dairy farmer organizations, including NMPF, along with cooperatives, processors, manufacturers, and brands, to foster innovation and help dairy farmers and importers sell more milk and dairy products. Biogas initiatives completed by the Innovation Center helped inform the Roadmap, including 2013 research that identifies a $2.9 billion market potential for anaerobic digester systems that co-digest dairy cow manure and food waste.

The steps the USDA, DOE and EPA will take to promote the development of biogas systems can be found here.

Biogas systems could help the dairy industry, which contributes approximately 2 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, to further reduce its carbon footprint. In 2009, the dairy industry established a voluntary goal to reduce its carbon footprint by 25 percent by 2020. The Dairy Power project is one of a portfolio of projects to help achieve that goal; it focuses on harnessing the value of manure and realizing the potential of biogas systems for U.S. dairy farmers.

Visit for information and case studies about biogas projects on dairy farms, and watch this video to see how a coalition of urban and rural partners — including the Cleveland Browns – used a biogas system to recycle cow manure and food waste.