December 4, 2006


Cows power plan for alternative fuel (Martha T. Moore, 12/04/04, USA TODAY)

Marie Audet's cows produce three things: milk, fertilizer and electricity.

They earn less than $13 a pound for the milk, a 25-year low, but 12 cents per kilowatt-hour for the electricity, a 4-cent premium over the market price.

That's why the Audet family and a growing number of other dairy farmers have decided there's money in manure. Power derived from manure is changing from an alternative-fuel experiment to a business, pushed by high oil costs, low milk prices and new laws restricting harmful gas emissions and requiring the use of renewable energy.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 4, 2006 7:26 AM

There's money in manure.

Nothing new there. Politicians have been sending us this message for eons.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at December 4, 2006 8:56 AM

--They earn less than $13 a pound for the milk, a 25-year low, --

And farm subsidies make up the rest??????

Posted by: Sandy P at December 4, 2006 12:08 PM

The author of this article, Martha T. Moore, is an idiot. She probably means $13 per hundred weight. There is about 8.5 pounds in a gallon. If those farmers were making $13 a pound, they would all retire rich in a few years.

Be wary of these alternative fuel stories. I just installed a corn burning furnace this year. I'm going through a lot more corn than was told that I would when I bought it. Also, every 24-36 hours I have to remove the clinker, which always puts out the fire. And removing the clinker is dirty work. Once a week I need to vacuum out the fine dirty dust that has collected inside of the heat exchanger pipes. Wanna talk about mice?

Posted by: AllenS at December 4, 2006 2:30 PM

Used to pull the clinkers out of our coal furnace when I was a kid. We crushed them for spreding on ice for traction. Could use a few now after last weekend's ice storm.

Posted by: jdkelly at December 4, 2006 4:40 PM


Your age is showing. Did you have a grate above the furnace into the living room? When I bought this farm, there was a floor furnace (propane) in the living room. It only heated that room. I used the take a bath (no shower) and would see my breath on the coldest of days.

The people of India, gather those cow pies, let them dry out, and then they use those for heat, to cook their food.

It really wasn't that long ago, that providing heat to the house was work. A constant vigil was needed.

Posted by: AllenS at December 4, 2006 5:24 PM

Don't remember a grate. Had vents in all five rooms. My Dad let the furnace burn out at night. Started it early each morning. I cleaned the scrap clinkers after school.

No matter the temperature, windows in the bedroom open a bit for safety from CO. Linoleum floors. Lots of dancing around while dressing in the morning. Ahh, the good old days.

Posted by: jdkelly at December 4, 2006 7:15 PM

Ha. A clinker. Thanks for explaining a bit from the film A Christmas Story that I'd never understood quite -- when the father, in his epic encounter with the furnance, screams out "A Clinker!"

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at December 4, 2006 11:02 PM