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Northeast Farm Separation Project

This project uses manure separation technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, nutrient runoff, and operating costs on a Pennsylvania farm.

Carbon Project Type: Farm Methane Reduction
Location: Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Year: 2011
Volume: 72,000 metric tons
Standard: Verified Carbon Standard

Dairy farming can be a challenge in the Northeast. Family farms are faced with increasing operational costs, like energy and bedding, while milk prices remain flat. In addition, environmental concerns about manure runoff, greenhouse gas emissions, odor, and pathogens are putting pressure on farmers to change their practices. Because manure spreading can pollute watersheds, farmers must often truck their manure long distances, which is costly and time-consuming.

A technology that separates volatile solids from manure helps address these issues. Normally, storing raw manure in open lagoons results in the emission of methane—a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Separation technology, however, removes the solids from manure slurry. This prevents the anaerobic decomposition that would normally produce methane. In addition, it provides a source of cow bedding material for the farm. This bedding is cheaper than sawdust and more comfortable for the animals. Finally, phosphorus—a major water pollutant—is partially removed during the separation process. This reduces the potential for runoff pollution in vulnerable watersheds.

The Northeast Farm Separation Project will install separation equipment on Mercer Vu Farm in Pennsylvania.

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