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Impact on Air Quality and Climate Change: Where the Dairy Industry Stands- John Fiscalini


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This material was presented as part of DAIReXNET's April 4, 2011 webinar entitled "Impact on Air Quality and Climate Change-Where the Dairy Industry Stands."

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Impact on Air Quality and Climate Change: Where the Dairy Industry Stands- John Fiscalini

  1. 1. Fiscalini Farms and Cheese Company<br />Impact on Air Quality and Climate Change <br />
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  3. 3. Location & Information<br />Fiscalini Farms is Located in the Central Valley of California, a few miles northwest of Modesto.<br />The family-owned dairy farm was founded in 1912 <br />530 acres are owned and operated, of which 460 are used to grow crops for the dairy cows<br />1500 cows are milked three times each day, and housed in free-stall barns<br />
  4. 4. LivestockHousing<br />
  5. 5. Crop Information<br />460 acres are triple-cropped each year, growing corn, Sudan grass, and wheat.<br />Reduced till, no-till, and conventional tillage are all used, with the expectation of moving towards reduced till on all the crop ground.<br />By growing a third crop each year, there is less chance of blowing dust from fallow land, and increased conversion of carbon dioxide to oxygen by photosynthesis.<br />Only livestock manure is applied to the land for fertilizer – we have not used inorganic fertilizer for more than 20 years<br />
  6. 6. Chopping, Reduced Till, and Planting Irrigation Will Occur on the Following Day<br />
  7. 7. Feeding Information<br />Feeds are added to the mixer truck in an order to minimize the escape of particulate matter. We add silage first, then drier commodities that mix with the wet silage.<br />Silage bunkers are covered to enhance quality and to minimize emissions. <br />Silage bunker faces are kept smooth to reduce emissions.<br />
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  9. 9. Anaerobic Digester<br />All of the collected solid manure is fed into our digester, as well as any other organic wastes produced on site.<br />The concrete digester tanks are heated to 100 degrees.<br />Bacteria convert the manure to methane which is used to produce renewable electricity and hot water.<br />
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  12. 12. Digester<br />The digester reduces greenhouse gas emissions from the dairy.<br />The engine produces NOX in small quantities<br />By installing this technology we have done the equivalent of removing 25,000 automobiles from the highways of California, but added one long-haul diesel truck. <br />The cost and time spent to prove compliance to the air board has been enormous. <br />
  13. 13. Digester<br />The digester cost was more than twice the original estimate.<br />Current payback for the system is 20 years or more.<br />The water board will not allow co-digesting which would put the system in a positive cash flow scenario.<br />
  14. 14. Digester<br />The air board has required elaborate testing on the flare which has not been used in over a year, except for the testing of the flare. They would not accept manufacturer’s emission data.<br />Prior to installing the digester, methane simply escaped into the atmosphere, but a flare is a requirement of digester installation.<br />Flare testing cost $10,000 +, the flare surpassed air board expectations. I will soon pay another $1,500 to the air board for their review of the flare testing and flare permit.<br />
  15. 15. Summary<br />Like most farmers, I want a clean air and water supply.<br />I have spent a lot of my own money to try and be proactive about air and water concerns. <br />When I decided to install the anaerobic digester, I expected that the regulators would do their best to see the project succeed so that others might be able to follow my lead. Instead, they have done the opposite, costing the project hundreds of thousands of dollars, and hundreds of hours of my time to provide paperwork for their review. <br />
  16. 16. Regulators seem to be concerned only with their specific items. There is no collaboration among agencies, so the regulations are not well-thought at times. There needs to be an overview of the total project, and there needs to be an assessment of all the plusses and minuses so that an intelligent plan can be developed.<br />Anaerobic digesters have succeeded in Europe, they should be allowed to succeed in the US. The benefits are enormous.<br />