Manure Manager July August 2016 : Page 6
INDUSTRY NEWS manuremanager.com Farms a major air-pollution source: study Emissions from farms outweigh all other human sources of fine-particulate air pollution in much of the United States, Europe, Russia and China, according to new research. The good news is if combustion emissions de-cline in coming decades – as most projections say – fine-particle pollution will go down, even if fertil-izer use doubles as expected, according to the new study published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. Agricultural air pollution comes mainly in the form of ammonia, which enters the air as a gas from fertilized fields and livestock waste. It then com-bines with pollutants from combustion – mainly nitrogen oxides and sulfates from vehicles, power plants and industrial processes – to create tiny solid particles, or aerosols. Aerosols can penetrate deep into lungs, causing heart or pulmonary disease. Many regional studies, especially in the United States, have shown agricultural pollution to be a prime source of fine-particulate precursors, but the new study is one of the first to look at the phenom-enon worldwide and to project future trends. The study’s results show more than half the aerosols in much of the eastern and central United States come from farming. “This is not against fertilizer – there are many places, including Africa, that need more of it,” said Susanne Bauer, an atmospheric scientist at Colum-bia University’s Center for Climate Systems Research and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York and lead author of the study. “We expect population to go up, and to produce more food, we will need more fertilizer.” The fact that agricultural emissions must com-bine with other pollutants to make aerosols is good news, according to Bauer. Most projections say tighter regulations, cleaner sources of electricity and higher-mileage vehicles will cut industrial emis-sions enough by the end of this century that farm emissions will be starved of the other ingredients necessary to create aerosols, she said. Biogas industry applauds Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Act Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY) and Ron Kind (D-WI) recently introduced new bipartisan legislation – the Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Act – with the support of 12 additional Republican and Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives. The American Biogas Council (ABC), the trade association for the U.S. biogas industry, applauded the bill, which will increase the sustainability of farms by helping to deploy new nutrient recovery and biogas systems to recycle organic material into base load renew-able energy and healthy soil products. The act will provide a 30 percent invest-ment tax credit (ITC) for qualifying biogas and nutrient recovery systems. “For a healthy economy, we need healthy soils and clean waterways. Biogas and nutrient recovery systems contribute to cleaner, healthier soil and water and the Agriculture Environ-mental Stewardship Act will make these systems possible,” said Pat-rick Serfass, executive director of the American Biogas Council. “We thank Congressmen Reed, Kind and the other co-sponsors of this bill for recognizing the far reaching benefits of sustainable farming where organic material and nutrients are recy-cled to create beneficial soil products, base load renewable energy and jobs.” According to ABC, the introduction of the act reflects the need to support economically and environmentally sustainable agricultural practices that protect waterways and enrich soils. Currently, no tax incentive exists for nu-trient recovery systems, which farms increas-ingly need to properly manage the nutrients found in raw manure. Currently, only biogas projects that generate electricity are eligible for a production tax credit under Section 45 of the federal tax code, omitting other energy uses like production of pipeline quality natural gas and compressed renewable natural gas vehicle fuel. “This measure recognizes the value that biogas systems can have as dairy producers continue improving the sustainability of their farms, large and small, across the country,” said Jim Mulhern, presi-dent and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “Impor-tantly, the creation of this new investment tax credit also addresses the value of nutrient recov-ery technologies, which can transform manure into fertilizer for crops and bedding for cows. This bill will help dairy farmers to utilize these new, often expensive technologies on their dairies.” 6 MANURE MANAGER -July/August 2016
In The News
Farms a major air-pollution source: study
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