FARM TO ENERGY
Turning Waste Into An Alternative Energy Source
A VALUE CHAIN PROJECT
Food21 is in the early stages of developing a food value chain that serves dairy farmers in southwestern Pennsylvania, with a concentration in Westmoreland County. In 2020, Food21 was approached by our partner, Peoples Gas, to assist in locating and supporting the launching of a new commercial renewable energy complex in the Pittsburgh region. The facility will be an anaerobic digester and rely on organic waste derived from area dairy farms.
The state of our area’s dairy industry is well documented. There are more than 550 operating dairy farms in the SW PA region with many bordering on financial insolvency due to the fluctuations in the commodity price of fluid milk and a lack of alternative markets for their product.
Reliable sources of new revenue directly related to their current operations would be a substantial benefit. There are approximately 41,000 dairy cows on these regional dairy farms. These farms produce literally tons of organic waste that can be used to fuel a renewable energy complex based on anaerobic digester technology.
"The dairy economy is never great. I know that to survive we need to create different income streams. I was always taught to use the assets that you have available to you. Turning manure into energy provides benefits for everyone. It just makes sense.”