Westgate, IA —
Dairy and pig farms provide jobs, food…and heaping tons of animal refuse. In rural Iowa, a dairy farm has figured out how to take this bumper crop and turn it into clean, revenue-producing energy. At the Top Deck Farm in Westgate, Iowa, Roger Decker is turning the incredible 11,500 gallons of manure produced daily by his 650 Holstein dairy cows into income and electricity.
The timing of this new technology couldn't be better: Farmers need extra cash for lean years and utilities are working to meet state-mandated deadlines for producing more energy from renewable sources. By pairing up, both goals are met AND they're improving the quality of life for everyone in the area by taking polluting (and stinky) methane gas out of the atmosphere and converting it into cheap home fuel.
Lighting homes with livestock is still new and small, but the potential is huge and exciting. In Iowa, where there are 5 times more hogs than humans, one day a significant portion of the state's power may well be generated on farms. Definitely an innovation that's going to help stop global warming and reduces our dependence on oil. Better than turning lemons into lemonade!