New York state's $21m offer to farmers

The state of New York wants to entice farmers to convert their farms’ waste into energy by offering over $20m in subsidies.

An additional $1m in funding will be available to farmers for the purpose of establishing business plans.

The funding for these efforts stem from recommendations made at the governor’s Yogurt Summit in 2012 to ensure that the industry continues to grow and create jobs in New York State.

Cows in NYC
North Country News reports that the majority of the $21m will go to dairy farms interested in installing "waste-to-energy anaerobic digesters."

While these systems can reduce energy costs for large-scale farms, they are often cost prohibitive for smaller dairy farms.

This week New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has made the funding available and farms, food processing manufacturers and municipal wastewater sites are all eligible for up to $2m per project.

The biogas to power technology process would allow farmers to save on energy they would normally purchase from the utility grid, and periodically export surplus electricity onto the electrical grid in exchange for credits. Furthermore, farmers can realize operational savings in other areas as well.

Over the past 10 years, NYSERDA and the New York Power Authority have awarded nearly $30 million toward anaerobic digestion projects and related technology, resulting in significant energy savings to New York-based businesses while reducing the use of fossil fuel. Currently, this funding supports 20 operational digester projects.

The digester technology funding will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for eligible projects. The small $1m allotment will allow dairy farmers to hire consultants.

Funding for the Dairy Acceleration Program (DAP) will be increased by $850,000, which is in addition to the $1 million announced by the Governor this past August.

Payments under DAP may include: up to $5,000 per farm to write a business plan or develop a combination of a business and facility growth plan; and up to $4,500 to update an existing Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) or $6,000 to develop a new one.

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