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Owens Announces nearly $500,000 in USDA Grant Funds for Clarkson University Research in Small Farms Technology

Grant provides support for technology to reduce farm waste and generate clean energy

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Washington, Apr 10 | comments
“Clarkson University has long been a leader in agricultural technology research in our region,” Congressman Bill Owens said. “This project builds on that leadership, helping small farmers in our region discover new technologies that will help their bottom line and help the environment at the same time.”
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Congressman Bill Owens announced today that a Clarkson University project in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has been awarded $499,124 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). The grant will provide funding for research into anaerobic digesters that help break down organic waste for use in energy production.

“Clarkson University has long been a leader in agricultural technology research in our region,” Congressman Bill Owens said. “This project builds on that leadership, helping small farmers in our region discover new technologies that will help their bottom line and help the environment at the same time.”

Anaerobic digesters are airtight containers or pits with bacteria that break down waste and produce methane gas, which is then burned to create electricity and heat. The devices are inexpensive to build and maintain and their use can help reverse deforestation from wood burning, reduce air pollution, fertilize over-used fields and produce safe, clean energy for rural communities. This technology also reduces waste, lowers costs for farmers and makes small farms more self-sufficient.

“This award is great recognition that USDA is interested in research on these systems,” said project director and Clarkson University Professor Stefan Grimberg. “These funds will go toward building demonstration models used for training a large number of farmers in the region who could potentially benefit from this technology. We are looking forward to working with USDA and their extension services on this project.”

Grants awarded through AFRI go toward projects using agricultural research and education to address issues of regional or national concern. Funds support both technological research in agriculture and the community outreach and education needed to help agricultural communities make effective use of the resulting research findings.

The AFRI program is centered around five challenges: to keep American agriculture competitive while ending world hunger, to improve nutrition and end child obesity, to improve food safety for all Americans, to secure America’s energy future, and to mitigate and adapt to climate change. More information about the AFRI program is available online at: www.nifa.usda.gov/funding/afri/afri.html.

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