TULARE -- With energy costs high and crop prices sluggish, farmers are turning to solar power, converting animal waste to natural gas and planting exotic trees to help them survive a tough economy.
Farmer and entrepreneur David Albers is among those using technology to boost revenue at his 2,800-cow dairy and that of many others.
Albers, who spoke at the first Farming Clean Energy Conference held at Southern California Edison's AgTAC Center on Wednesday, is president of BioEnergy Solutions, a company that builds facilities to extract methane gas from cow manure.
Unlike other systems that use the gas to power farm buildings, Albers' company collects it, processes it, then pumps it into a pipeline to be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric Co.
He and participating dairies benefit by getting paid for the gas while also managing their cow waste in a more environmentally friendly way.
Albers said he has contracts and or letters of intent with 100 dairies in the central San Joaquin Valley to join the project.
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