A United States Representative introduces legislation to encourage the development of biogas.

Congressman Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) wants to provide incentives to farmers for developing and using anaerobic-methane digesters, which convert wasted methane gas into usable energy. The La Crosse Democrat says manure management is a big problem and it's bad for the environment.

"Actually the methane gas that is produced by animal waste is actually 23 times more powerful than CO2 emissions when it comes to climate change and global warming."

Kind says the increase in demand for natural gas will put a demand on renewable energy, which can supplement natural gas.

"Natural gas prices are invariably only going to go up. That's what is going to make this biogas all the more attractive to invest in and develop the infrastructure for."

Considering the environment, renewable energy, tax incentives and grants for farmers, Kind says biogas is a win/win/win situation. He adds, Wisconsin has been a leader in Ag research for a long time.

"There's no reason why Wisconsin can't be at the forefront of a lot of this research and development in new technologies like biogas which is already starting to occur here and it good be a significant piece to the larger pie that we have to create for our own energy security."

There are already four digesters in Wisconsin with a fifth one under construction. Kind says a lot of the smaller farmers will be able to participate for the very first time in manure management by using incentives to transport manure to a centrally located digester. Kind's legislation offers an outreach campaign to let producers know of the very existence of this option. He's hoping to have his legislation included in a comprehensive energy package for Congress to consider by July 4th.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report (1:55 MP3)

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