Livestock producers interested in learning how manure digesters can add value to their operations are invited to a conference set for Aug. 20 in Oelwein, Iowa. Adding manure to an anaerobic digester allows the manure to decompose, creating methane gas. The gas is then used with a generator to create electricity, often much more than an individual operation can use.

Iowa State University Extension agricultural engineer field specialist Dan Meyer is coordinating the conference that will provide information on using digesters, including location, cost, operation and potential income.

"Anaerobic digesters provide opportunities for operations with liquid manure to generate additional income through the creation of electricity. Conference speakers will talk about all aspects of the necessary tanks and equipment," says Meyer. "The conference will include presentations from current digester users, engineers, utility company representatives and possible project funders."

Producers can obtain up to 75 percent of the funding needed for a digester project through zero interest loans from the Iowa Energy Center or grants from the USDA, says Meyer.

Top Deck Dairy near Westgate has used a digester since May 2002. Jason Decker, one of three sons involved in the dairy operation, is among those who will speak. Meyer was involved with the planning, design and implementation of Top Deck's digester.

The conference is set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sportsman Lounge, on Highway 150 south of Oelwein. It will be followed by a tour of the Deckers' operation. Registration cost is $20 per person when registered by Aug. 18. Cost after that date is $25 per person.

To register, send your name, farm/company name, address and check payable to Fayette County Extension to Fayette County Extension, P.O. 700, Fayette, IA 54142.

For more information on manure digesters or the conference, contact Meyer at (563) 425-3331 or e-mail at