With energy rates on the rise, farms everywhere are struggling to make ends-meet. Pennwood Farms in Berlin, a borough located approximately 75 miles southeast of Pittsburgh in Somerset County, is one of many dairy farms looking to curb the cost of energy by producing it through the installation of an anaerobic digester. USDA Rural Development provided a $264,450 Rural Energy For America Program (REAP) loan and $246,574 REAP grant to Pennwood Farms to install an anaerobic methane digester on their 570 cow dairy farm. Pennwood Farms has a more energy efficient farm today with the addition of an anaerobic digestion system. Manure from the 570 cow family owned dairy farm is currently converted into methane gas.
The methane gas generates 919,475 kWh of electricity per year and will provides a surplus of 553,825 kWh that is sold back to the utility. The funding provided for renewable energy projects helps to streamline rural areas in the hopes of making small businesses more economical and eco-friendly.