Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cow Power

On Tuesday I attended a session in the US Center led by Tom Vilsack, Secetary of Agriculture. Joining him were three panelists - Robert Carlson (President of the Farmer's Union Service Association), Fred Yoder (a 4th generation farmer from Ohio), and Erin Fitzgerald (Director, Dairy Management Inc).

Sec. Vilsack announced an exciting partnership with the dairy industry and signed a memorandum to put it into action. The USDA will be collaborating with and supporting dairy farmers to accelerate the conversion of cow manure into usable fuel. Did you know that a 700 head cattle lot could fuel 200 homes? Erin Fitzgerald went into some more details of the plan, which she labeled "Cow Power". This plan would allow dairy farmers to not only reduce their farms' emissions of methane, but would allow them to financially benefit from their farm waste by creating an alternative source of energy.

Robert Carlson also talked about the Chicago Climate Exchange which has had high success so far - I didn't catch all the details but they apparently have a Facebook page which I'll later explore. The main point was that the exchange has been successful in connecting buyers (GHG emitters) with sellers (farmers who can sequest carbon naturally in their farms). Another great innovative way to put a value on carbon.

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