Financial Incentive Programs for Manure Composting
Are there Government programs to offset the costs of composting our horse manure?
You may want to read Josh Nelson’s article, “Horse Manure black gold goes green” to learn why you should be composting your horse manure.
Finding the money for Manure Management and Composting…
Financial Incentives: State and Federal programs are in place which can help offset the cost of these systems. This technology qualifies for cost sharing and tax credits in numerous states under both energy conservation and environmental protection programs.
First off, horse owners must recognize that the USDA and most Federal Agencies do not recognize horse farms as “Farms” unless the majority of their cash receipts are from breeding and sale of offspring, or breeding stock.
Horse stables and training facilities are recognized as “Rural Business Enterprises“, who do qualify for low interest loans from the USDA. None of the programs will cover 100% of the cost for manure management and composting but they do have cost sharing programs. In most cases these State and Federal programs will recognize an individuals’ or farms’ contribution of labor and equipment time as a “cost sharing”.
State and Federal programs
(Google for local contact info)
1. State Cooperative Extension Service which are usually managed by the State Land Grant University dealing with agriculture.
2. Natural Resource Conservation Service – NRCS (Federal with state offices). This group coordinates a national program know as EQIP, Environmental Quality Incentive Program. They have a prime directive to protect natural resources (specifically water resources) and do have cost sharing programs. Farms must sign up by a specific date every year to be eligible for the coming year. Farms are ranked based on the severity of their problems.
3. United States Department of Agriculture – USDA has several programs and the individual state agencies are there to help Rural businesses and farms make application. For example there are VAPG grants coming up soon. These are Value Added Product Grants. It is viable to argue that (aerobic composting) & conversion of manure into thermal energy, which breaks dependence on fossil and grid energy AND produces an environmentalists safe, marketable compost, IS a Value Added process. There are also renewable energy grants.
4. National Association of Conservation Districts – NACD are an excellent resource as well.
5. Each State has incentives and programs which your Cooperative Extension Agent and State USDA agency should be able to help you with.
Large stables with 20+ horses check http://www.agrilab.ca
Small facilities with 2-20 horses check http://www.washwand.com/
None of these applications are easy or a silver bullet. One must be prepared to do some serious grant and proposal writing. But in the long run, they are all seriously worth the effort.
About the Author
Josh Nelson is a Master Composter and works with private and public entities consulting on methods to increase recycling efficiency globally. His work focuses on issues relating to agricultural and environmental sustainability. He is a successful inventor and has developed several products for the horse, pet and composting industry. He can be reached at: washwand [at] aol.com (remove the spaces and add @ for the [at])
Inventor and developer of EZ STACKTM Composting Systems and WashWand