Dairy farmer earns bucks from herd’s manure

Alert readers will note that we never pass up a chance to talk about cow poop. But cow poop that generates power? Pinch us! Minnesota dairy farmer Dennis Haubenschild uses an anaerobic digester to convert the methane-generating dookie of his 900-cow herd into electricity for a local utility, earning thousands of dollars a year while cutting his operation’s greenhouse-gas emissions. (Heh, we said “emissions.”) A carbon broker measures and verifies the reduction of almost 100 tons of carbon equivalent a week and sells it as greenhouse-gas credits on the Chicago Climate Exchange, North America’s only voluntary, legally binding greenhouse-gas reduction and trading system. Operations like Haubenschild’s provide the market a credit supply; it in turn helps him cover the cost of his doo-doo digester. Plus, 100 cows can dump enough in a day to replace a barrel of oil, says Haubenschild. Paraphrasing Huey Lewis: That’s the power … the power of poop.