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Monday, July 15, 2024

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After the Trump assassination attempt, defining democracy gets even harder; Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate; DC residents push back on natural gas infrastructure buildup; and a new law allows youth on Medi-Cal to consent to mental health treatment.

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Former President Trump is injured but safe after an attempted assassination many condemn political violence. Democrats' fears intensify over Biden's run. And North Carolina could require proof of citizenship to vote.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Digesters: Helpful in reducing farm emissions?

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Friday, February 16, 2024   

Wisconsin is part of a movement to reduce livestock emissions by converting manure into energy sources, and there are calls to weave in a careful approach.

Anaerobic digesters create biogas by removing methane from livestock waste. The gas can then be used for electricity, heat or vehicle fuel. Supporters say the process limits methane from reaching the atmosphere. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Energy For America Program helps fund these projects on farms in Wisconsin and elsewhere.

Andy Olsen, senior policy advocate for the Environmental Law and Policy Center, said the jury is still out on the effectiveness of digesters, and he urges the USDA to keep science in mind when considering the projects.

"There's how things work on paper and then, there's how things work on the ground," Olsen pointed out. "There's a lot of space in between the two."

Olsen argued the industry still needs to overcome challenges like methane leaks. Skeptics of the technology said among other things, federal funding incentivizes participating farms to expand their operations, creating more nuisance issues for surrounding communities. Still, Olsen noted the industry should be given time to address the shortcomings.

The Rural Energy for America Program also funds wind and solar projects on farm sites. Olsen noted there has been added support from the Inflation Reduction Act to expand outreach and technical assistance as a way to boost interest.

"I'm hoping to see a lot more good, energy-efficiency projects from that, which is the number-one place we should be starting," Olsen contended.

Olsen added improvements to grain dryers to help reduce natural gas use in harvesting are another example of energy efficiency efforts. As for digesters, a report from the Wisconsin Office of Energy Innovation said there are 136 operating systems around the state, with 34 tied to agriculture.


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"I truly love our Country, and love you all, and look forward to speaking to our Great Nation this week from Wisconsin," wrote Former President Donald Trump on social media. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

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