Turning cow pies into cash piles

Marketplace Staff Mar 6, 2007
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Turning cow pies into cash piles

Marketplace Staff Mar 6, 2007
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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Imagine turning cow pies into cash piles. New technology is helping farmers profit from an all-too common commodity found in cow barns. Ag officials say they’re helping more dairy and beef producers realize the economic potential of manure. Appropriately enough, Brian Bull has the poop.


BRIAN BULL: Whether it’s Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” or President Bush’s call for more renewable energy ventures, utilities and companies are catching wind of cow poop’s marketability as a green power source.

Timm Johnson of the Wisconsin Agricultural Stewardship Initiative says many farmers are now buying manure digesters.

Yes, they’re called digesters. The units remove methane gas from the heated waste, and that gas powers a generator.

TIMM JOHNSON: The electricity can be enough produced to supply anywhere from 500 to 1,250 homes on an annual basis.

Farmers pay more than a million dollars for a digester-generator combo, but Johnson says the energy savings help cover costs within a few years.

Other uses for cow pies include building and composting materials.

In Madison, Wisconsin, I’m Brian Bull for Marketplace.

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