Farmers Seek Tax Credit to Turn Manure into Power

US - For dairy farmers, cow manure can be worth its weight in renewable energy. Using digesting machines, farmers can turn the manure into natural gas and electricity, which they can use on their farms or sell to utility companies.
calendar icon 29 January 2008
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With a bill in the Washington Legislature, however, farmers could also turn manure into tax breaks. The bill would give farmers with commercial digesters a six-year exemption from property and leasehold taxes.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Mary Haugen, D-Camano Island, said the tax break would give farmers the money needed to purchase the expensive machines, called anaerobic digesters. The digesters cost as much as $1,000 per cow - a hefty sum for the many small- to medium-sized dairy farms in Washington.

"We see anaerobic digestion as a way to advance farming into the 21st century," said Daryl Maas, co-founder of Farm Power Northwest. "Farmers who are embracing this technology can continue to get more value out of their farms."

Washington currently has two farms operating commercial digesters, although 122 farms could have them, said Troy Green, an executive vice president for J-U-B Engineers Inc., at a hearing on the bill Monday in the Senate Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Committee.

Source: The Oregonian
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