July 22, 2021. U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced bipartisan legislation to encourage investment in biodigester and nutrient recovery systems, while establishing a market for farmers who already have a surplus of waste materials that can be used for biogas production. Thune and Brown’s bill, the Agricultural Environmental Stewardship Act, will help expand the market for renewable biogas by providing a 30 percent investment tax credit to help offset the upfront costs associated with building biodigester systems. U.S. Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“This bill is a commonsense solution to help South Dakota’s dairy producers, boost our economy, and better preserve our environment,” said Thune. “I’d like to thank Senator Brown and our colleagues in the House for this bipartisan effort to invest in sustainable biogas technology and American jobs, and I look forward to working to get this bill enacted into law.”

“Ohio farmers are struggling to safely dispose of livestock waste that could be used for renewable energy,” said Brown. “This legislation will encourage investment in the technology needed to convert these waste materials into renewable fuel that can be used to power farms, households, and businesses across the country. We need to do all we can to protect Lake Erie and our waterways, and this bill provides another tool to ensure clean water.”

Farmers across the country have a surplus of organic material like manure, food scraps, agricultural residue, and wastewater solids and liquids, all of which can be used to produce biogas that can be used to produce heat, electricity, and fuel and can be injected into natural gas pipelines. They can also be used to process wastewater up stream, which reduces runoff and containments that impact potable water in a number of communities.

The Agricultural Environmental Stewardship Act promotes investment by making biodigesters eligible for a 30 percent investment tax credit that other renewable energy sources are already eligible for. This credit would allow South Dakota dairy farms, and other businesses, to increase the number of biodigesters throughout rural America by significantly reducing the upfront cost. Farms and other biodigester operators would be able to use digesters or other biological, chemical, thermal, or mechanical processes to make biogas that is at least 52 percent methane, adding an immediate new revenue stream and dramatically decreasing pollution and runoff into waterways.