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New York announces dairy energy, expansion programs

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New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced two programs to help the state’s dairy farmers expand, increase profitability and reduce energy costs. These initiatives were the result of recommendations advanced at Governor Cuomo’s Yogurt Summit, which convened last summer to hear ideas from industry leaders, farmers and other stakeholders to ensure that the yogurt industry continues to grow and create jobs in New York.

 

Anaerobic Digester Biogas-to-Electricity Program (ADG)

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will double the maximum incentive amount from $1 million to up to $2 million per installation for farmers to install equipment on their farms that turns organic waste produced by cows into electricity.

At the Yogurt Summit, the State committed to working with the dairy and yogurt industries to lower energy costs by increasing and incentivizing the construction and use of anaerobic digesters which turn waste produced on the farm into energy that can be used by the farmers. This allows farmers to more easily manage the large amount of waste produced by cows and to also save money on energy costs by turning that waste into a renewable source of energy.

Specifically, the Anaerobic Digester Biogas to Electricity (ADG) program provides incentives for electricity production systems installed at farms and other businesses that treat organic waste. 

The increased amount in incentive awards to up to $2 million for anaerobic digesters was approved by the Public Service Commission at its monthly meeting earlier this month, and is funded through the Renewable Portfolio Standard. To date, the ADG program has supported the development of 18 projects now in operation, and an additional 17 projects in the design stage have applied for incentives. The increased cap will make more proposed anaerobic digester projects viable and spur demand for this important resource.

 

• Dairy Acceleration Program (DAP)

Also announced was $450,000 to fund a Dairy Acceleration Program (DAP), which will provide grants and coordinate funding and technical programs to help farmers interested in expanding their operations or increasing their efficiency. Through the program, farmers will be able to tap into the expertise of the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) network and other agricultural programs.

DAP will provide a central point of access to technical programs for those dairies looking to expand or improve productivity. CCE regional dairy specialists will identify opportunities for assistance for the farm via programs, such as the AEM program, FarmNet and Pro-Dairy, and help to coordinate the delivery of these on-farm technical support programs.

DAP will also provide grants of up to $5,000 per dairy farm for:

  • • Financial analysis,
  • • Strategic planning for growth,
  • • Executing business plans to expand, or
  • • Other operational needs of the farm, such as adoption of Best Management Practices, new techniques/technologies for growth or engineering and design for expansion.
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