AGRIBUSINESS: Dairy Using Waste to Power Fleet

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Officials from the Department of Energy say Fair Oaks Farms is a pacesetter for the dairy industry. The Indiana farm has used electricity generated by the manure gathered from its own barn floors to power milking equipment, barns, a cheese factory and more for years. Now - the farm is using manure to fuel its delivery trucks as well. According to the Department of Energy - it’s the largest natural gas fleet using agricultural waste to drive the nation’s roads. Fair Oaks has also opened two fueling stations to the public. Fair Oaks Chief Executive Gary Corbett says the farm is taking two-million gallons of diesel off the highway each year.

Erin Fitzgerald - a Senior Vice President at the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy says farmers across the country are starting to look at the Fair Oaks model to see if it would work for them. Department of Energy Clean Cities program Director Dennis Smith says about eight-thousand large-scale dairy and swine farms across the country could potentially support similar biogas recovery projects. When coupled with landfills and wastewater treatment plants - Smith says there is potential to someday replace as much as 10-billion gallons of gasoline a year with renewable fuel.