The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has voiced support for the Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Act, a piece of legislation introduced this week in the U.S. House of Representatives. The new bipartisan legislation will help dairy farmers increase their investment in technologies, such as manure digesters, that improve the environment and enable dairy farmers to find new ways to reduce their environmental footprint, both on their farms and in their communities.
“This measure recognizes the value that biogas systems can have as dairy producers continue improving the sustainability of their farms, large and small, across the country,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Importantly, the creation of this new investment tax credit also addresses the value of nutrient recovery technologies, which can transform manure into fertilizer for crops and bedding for cows. This bill will help dairy farmers to utilize these new, often expensive technologies on their dairies.”
The Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) has found that, while as many as 8,000 farms have the potential to use biogas systems like manure digesters, just over 250 biogas systems are currently operational or under construction on dairy and hog farms. Federal and state regulators have encouraged producers throughout the agriculture sectors to reduce farm nutrient output so that the water quality in crucial watersheds can improve.
NMPF believes the Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Act will remove any roadblocks to more widespread use of digesters by making biogas and manure resource recovery technologies more affordable and incentivizing their use.
Dairy farmers and their dairy community partners are continuing the effort to embrace the best possible environmental practices following the industry’s 2008 decision to voluntarily set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fluid milk by 25 percent by 2020.