Anaerobic Digester Operator Discussion Group

Animal Manure Management November 06, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF

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Why Is Peer-to-Peer Discussion Important?

The Anaerobic Digester Workforce Development Project is a project funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, aimed at developing and delivering high quality educational programs targeted to a range of workforces within the dairy farm-based anaerobic digestion (AD) sector of the clean energy field.

A goal of the project was to form a farmer driven discussion group among existing AD owners and operators.  Farmers value and learn from the insights of fellow producers because they trust the experience and knowledge of others who are in situations similar to their own.  This is especially true when adopting new technology. The purpose of this discussion group was to allow farmers an opportunity to learn from each other by sharing their real world experiences integrating and operating an anaerobic digester system into their farm business.    Realizing that frequent, long-distance travel of all involved was a barrier to continued, dedicated involvement, the group opted to pursue a virtually-based discussion group platform.  Farmers from across the state were linked via an online meeting site.  This is an efficient method to allow farmers to interact with each other in a meaningful way without leaving their farm.  The use of high definition video conferencing enhanced the interaction considerably.  There have been many lessons learned from this challenging venture, as well as many successful communication strategies to share.

What Did We Do?

Realizing that frequent, long-distance travel of all involved was a barrier to continued, dedicated involvement, the group opted to pursue a virtually-based discussion group platform.  Farmers from across the state were linked via an online meeting site.  This is an efficient method to allow farmers to interact with each other in a meaningful way without leaving their farm.

What Have We Learned?

The focus of this presentation is to introduce the topic of forming and facilitating farmer based discussion groups with an emphasis on distance learning.  By using online meeting and video conferencing farmers from across geographic areas can meet and engage in meaningful dialogue.  This is especially useful when producers are implementing new technology in which they have no or limited experience.  The opportunity to have an open dialogue with other farmers that have real world experience with the technology is invaluable.  The experience and exchange of knowledge between farmers assists in the implementation and operation of the technology.

Future Plans

The virtual discussion group will continue to meet and develop.  As we gain more experience and farmers become more comfortable with this method of interact we expect for the discussions to increase in value and effectiveness.

Authors

Kathryn Barrett, Sr. Extension Associate, Cornell University, ProDairy Program, Director of Dairy Profit Discussion Group Program. kfb3@cornell.edu

Acknowledgements

The Anaerobic Digester Workforce Development Project is a project funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, aimed at developing and delivering high quality educational programs targeted to a range of workforces within the dairy farm-based anaerobic digestion (AD) sector of the clean energy field.

 

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2013. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Denver, CO. April 1-5, 2013. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Anaerobic Digester Operator Discussion Group from LPE Learning Center

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USDA / NIFA

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.