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Published December 15, 2009, 11:41 AM

U.S. counting on cows to help save planet

The government press is on to recycle methane from cow manure and convert it into electricity.

COPENHAGEN — The United States is counting on cows to help reduce its carbon footprint.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a plan today to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the dairy industry 25 percent by 2020, mostly by convincing farmers to capture the methane from cow manure that otherwise would be released into the atmosphere.

Agriculture accounts for about 7 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

A big part of the plan includes convince more farmers to purchase anaerobic digesters that essentially convert cow manure into electricity. The problem is that until now only 2 percent of dairy farmers who are good candidates for the technology are using it.

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