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Schumer touts tax incentives for manure energy

WATKINS GLEN — Sen. Charles Schumer wants to give federal tax breaks to farmers who install manure-to-energy systems on their farms.

He visited a farm in Watkins Glen on Thursday to promote bio-digesters, which collect methane gas from rotting manure and turn it into electricity that can be sold to utilities.

Schuyler County farmer Jim Bergen told reporters that he wants to install one on his dairy farm, which has 1,850 cows. He says it would cost about $3 million and could produce 900 kilowatts of electricity per hour.

Schumer said an energy bill being developed in Congress could offer tax breaks for farmers who adopt the technology. It also would include incentives for utility companies to hook up to farms to take electricity generated in excess of the farm’s needs.