Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, January 28, 1984, Image 1

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VOL. 29 No. 13
Pa. to fund studies of manure/energy farmer co-ops
Is it feasible?
Is it feasible for several farmers to get
together in a co-op and pool their manure for
utilization in a centralized methane digester to
generate electrical power?
From a technological and possibly an
economical standpoint it is feasible, according
to a representative of the firm that designed
and installed the digester system for Turkey
Hill Dairies in Lancaster County - the first ag
bio-gas system which has regularly sold power
back to a utility in Pennsylvania.
“We have found that the system does
provide a cash flow at the present rate of sell
back of power to the utility," said Larry Pluta,
of RCM (Resource Conservation
(Turn to Page A 39)
Beef cattle outlook for 1984 is positive
LANCASTER - The beef cattle
industry is experiencing some
changing times, but economic
factors are positive and 1984 should
a fairly good year for Penn
sylvania cattleman, according to a
Penn State Extension meats
This was the outlook given by
William Henning, one of four beef
specialists speaking at the Lan
caster County Cattle Feeder’s Day
Tuesday. “We’re in some
changing times and even the
economists would agree,” Henning
said, “but all factors of the
economy look positive now.”
Although not an economist
himself, Henning predicted,
through studying demand and
supply factors, that the first
quarter of 1984 will show the
strongest beef prices. The average
should be close to 870 per hun
dredweight, he said.
The second quarter will be
somewhat lower, with prices in the
mid 60’s. A backup of feeder cattle
(Turn to Page A 27)
Lancaster Farm & Home directors
Newly-elected directors of the Farm and Home Foundation
of Lancaster County are, from the left, Robert C. Groff,
Quarryyille; Darvin E. Boyd. Akron; Mrs. Orpha Graybill,
Lititz; Mrs. Evelyn Hess, Lancaster; Kenneth Rutt,
Quarryville; Robert Gregory, Lititz: and George Lewis, Mount
Joy- See story on A 24.
Five Sections
Under energy co-op proposal, manure from several farms would be collected,
instead of spread on fields, and utilized in a centralized methane digester for the
generation of electrical power to be sold back to utility.
Speaking to the 150 cattlemen attending the Lancaster Cattle Feeder’s Day were,
from left, Les Burdette, Penn State Extension beef specialist; J. Paul Espy, cattle feeder
and Pa. Beef Council president; William Henning, Penn State Extension meats specialist;
and Dr. Tom Drake, Penn State Extension veterinarian.
Lancaster Farming, Saturday, January 28,1984
See editorial on Page AlO
sylvania poultrymen battling the
worst outbreak of avian influenza
in the country, crowded into a U.S.
Senate hearing room Thursday
seeking additional federal aid to
compensate for mounting bird
Over 100 Lancaster County
poultrymen were part of a stan
dmg-room-only crowd seeking an
additional $6l million to meet the
fair market value of the over 10
million birds slaughtered to
eradicate the disease. The ad
ditional funds would cover the fair
market value based on current egg
and feed markets and the
productive life of the birds.
According to Pennsylvania Sen.
John Heinz, testifying on behalf of
Poultrymen take Avian funds
appeal to Washington hearing
the poultrymen, the “fair market
value is the only solution” to the
financial needs of the farmers.
“The Pennsylvania farmers are
only asking what the law mandates
and that’s fair market com
pensation,” Heinz said.
Without fair market value, Heinz
added, he sees no future for the
state’s poultry industry. Other
funding sources, such as low in
terest loans, have been considered,
he said, but are not viable solutions
because poultrymen “can’t bear
the burden of loan payments.”
“Equity demands fair market
value,” Heinz said as he cited the
USDA fair market program for the
1972 Newcastle outbreak in
California. At that time,
poultrymen received supplemental
funds as well as the fair market
$7.50 per Year
HARRISBURG Pennsylvania
is seeking to fund some studies to
determine if farmers can gel
together to form a new type of co
op - one in which they pool their
manure in a joint venture to
generate energy through a
cooperative methane digester
A total of $35,000 is being made
available through the Governor’s
Energy Council to finance such
studies to determine if it is feasible
of having anerobic digester
systems which would utilize
animal wastes from more than one
The deadline for proposals to
conduct such studies under the
Council’s cost-sharing funding
program is March 9.
Under the program, the Council
will provide a maximum con
tribution of $lO,OOO or 80 percent of
the total cost of a study, whichever
is less. Applicants must provide a
minimum of 20 percent of the total
cost of any study.
Recognizing that such digester
systems already in operation in the
state are found on large farms,
such as Mason-Dixon in Adams
County and Oregon and Turkey
Hill dairies in Lancaster County,
the chief purpose of the studies is
to encourage the development of
cooperative digester projects
among smaller farmers whose
animal herds by themselves would
not support a project alone.
The Governor’s Energy Council
lists three mam advantages o f the
co-op digester projects for far
First, they could produce a
significant share of their own
energy needs.
Second, continuing income could
be gained from the sale-back of
energy to a utility.
Third, digesters help reduce
nutrient run-off problems resulting
from customary waste disposal on
the land.
(Torn to Page A 39)
value for their birds, he said.
The hearing Thursday came at a
critical time with the decision to
eradicate all birds associated with
the Pennsylvania avian flu virus,
said U.S. Sen. Arlen Spector, R-Pa.
The USDA announced Wed
nesday its decision to depopulate
all poultry flocks infected by the
H 5 strain of the virus which has hit
the state’s poultry industry.
Heinz, who met earlier with Sen
Spector and assistant Secretary of
Agriculture C.W. McMillan, ex
pressed his concerns of the
decision to eradicate all low and
high pathogenic flocks.
“It needs to be proven beyond
reasonable doubt,” he said, “that
the mild strain must be eradicated
(Turn to Page A 33)