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Dane Co. Budget Includes Plans for Community Manure Plant
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 09/28/2022

Dane County is considering the possibility of constructing a commercial grade, community-scale manure processing plant that could be shared with multiple livestock operations. County Executive Joe Parisi announced he is proposing a $3 million feasibility study in his next budget to look at such a project, as well as allocating dollars to acquire the land needed for the facility.

Parisi says the initiative would reduce phosphorus runoff, advance the community's clean lakes efforts, and benefit the climate.

"We have done a lot over the past decade to address the root cause of excessive algae growth in the Yahara Chain of Lakes. Yet, as our community has stepped up phosphorus reduction and containment efforts, climate change rains have become even more frequent," Parisi said. "We need a grander scale solution to address this challenge if we want to reach our phosphorus runoff reduction goals."

Manure spread onto frozen land can spur phosphorus to area lakes, triggering algae blooms and green slime. With Dane County being one of the top agricultural counties in the nation, local leaders are embracing solutions to preserve its agricultural heritage while protecting natural resources.

Parisi is already asking staff within the Department of Land and Water Resources to begin the work necessary to determine how much manure could be processed, along with the potential environmental and financial benefits of converting it into renewable energy.

About 15 years ago, the county played a role in the development of two digesters in the North Mendota Watershed. Between these digesters and this new manure processing plant, they hope to process manure from two-thirds of animals in the Mendota watershed, which would equate to about 400 million gallons of manure each year from 40,000 cows.

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