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Jer-Lindy Farm’s Anaerobic Digester Case Study Featured in BioCycle Magazine

July 7, 2010

The Minnesota Project case study that lead to Minnesota’s first-of-its-kind methane digester on a small farm in Stearns County, Minnesota is featured in the most recent issue of BioCycle Magazine.

What, the layperson may ask, is a digester all about? A methane digester takes manure from a cow and, through heat and bacteria, creates gas, which can then be burned. It eliminates greenhouse gases and creates energy.  Many Minnesota farms are too small to justify the use of a digester.  However, if able to utilize anaerobic digestion technology, Minnesota dairy producers have the potential to stimulate economic development for farmers and their communities, resulting in a net benefit to the environment. Until recently, anaerobic digester technology has proven economically feasible and profitable only on farms with at least 300 cows.

In search of solutions for so many smaller farms, in 2005 the Minnesota Project set out to find an anaerobic digestion technology that could scale down and still provide financial incentives for farmers to use it. They selected the Jer-Lindy dairy farm in Brooten, MN to test the technology. Jerry and Linda Jennissen’s farm is set on 240 areas, with 215 Holsteins, producing around 3,000 gallons of manure a day. The Minnesota Project helped find funding opportunities through grants (70% of the initial pilot funding) and low-interest loans through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and in May 2008 the farm began producing electricity from biogas.

To learn more about the case study, the challenges the Jer-Lindy farm faced, and where we can go from here with the use of anaerobic technologies, check out the full article, “Anaerobic Digestion for Smaller Dairies,” in the June 2010 issue of BioCycle Magazine here.

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