Farm Power turned two yesterday, on Good Friday. Late the previous evening, the Washington State House of Representatives gave us an early birthday present, passing SB5797 by a vote of 97-0. We've been working on this bill for almost three months, making regular trips down to Olympia to visit our elected representatives and testify in front of committees. The "Sundial" on the picture above was a common meeting spot, located right between the two main legislative office buildings.
SB5797 allows anaerobic manure digesters to add a portion of food processing wastes (which feed more efficient bacteria methane production) without putting the regulatory "solid waste" designation on the manure supplied by dairy farmers. This solves one of our biggest challenges; co-digesting manure with food-processing waste makes digesters efficient enough to operate without subsidies, but no dairy farmers would accept this if it turned them into solid waste handlers. Passing this legislation, with the cooperation of the Departments of Ecology and Agriculture, lays out the rules for optimized energy production from digesters.
Many of our friends and neighbors were concerned after the Skagit Valley Herald broke the story on this issue, but the paper has been running regular updates on the legislative progress. We look forward to the bill making its final trip--to the governor's desk--and then becoming part of the Revised Code of Washington. We'd like to thank SB5797's prime sponsor, Senator Mary Margaret Haugen, secondary sponsors Senators Ranker, Brandland, and Hatfield, and the rest of the manure digester community for getting this legislation to the finish line.