How will this project benefit the Roberts Community?
In addition to a local, renewable, and reliable source of energy, other community benefits include:
- Help local participating farmers by providing a game changing manure management solution:
- Producing a form of manure that farmers can apply onto crops during the growing season, when the crops can actually use the nutrients.
- This natural manure has a lower application rate equaling less risk of leaching into groundwater, less soil compaction and less fossil fuels used when fertilizing crops.
- The anaerobic digestion process kills pathogens and weed seeds.
- Lowering emissions - reducing the methane pollution from unprocessed manure reduces greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.
- Nature Energy is negotiating an annual “Payment in Lieu of Taxes” (PILOT) for the project.
- Other long-term economic gains to local commercial and business owners and operations.
- The Roberts’ facility is Nature Energy’s first investment in North America, allowing Roberts to gain notoriety and host visitors to the facility in Roberts to gain firsthand knowledge of this innovative technology.
- Nature Energy has a reputation of being an outstanding corporate citizen who supports local communities where they operate facilities.
Joe and Mary Holle are young farmers milking 110 registered Holstein cows at Holle-Oaks Farm near Baldwin, Wisconsin, which is approximately 12 miles from the proposed Roberts plant. When asked why they want to participate in the Roberts Nature Energy project, they responded:
The opportunity to get more from our manure excites us the most. We have been trapped in our current manure facility with no options to improve. This project gives us more nutrients from our manure, and a financial path to move forward with larger storage facilities. The benefits from decreasing our purchase of fertilizer alone will give us a 18-24 month payback on a new storage facility. Furthermore, allowing us to get more from ground further from our current facilities and make a larger positive impact on the bottom line, using less purchased fertilizer on those fields. Upgrading our manure storage facilities will allow us optimum application times, reducing soil compaction, and enhancing plant nutrient utilization. In turn giving us larger potential upside rewards to this project.
We feel it will help revive agriculture’s public relations in western Wisconsin by improving our emissions and helping us be more productive on the same acreage. These “hot topics” are a driving media presence that a new technology with positive benefits will only help improve. As a smaller operation it is vital that we find ways to innovate within our current boundaries, we feel this project is a valuable tool to innovate with.
Visit the Other Resources page for letters of support for the project.
In September 2021, a group of twelve local officials and farmers representing the City of Benson, City of Winona, and Swift County in Minnesota and the Village of Roberts and St. Croix County in Wisconsin travelled to Denmark to learn more about the Nature Energy process. After the trip, Cheryl Johnson, Village of Roberts Trustee, reported in a video summary that the Nature Energy process is full circle solution "that will take a waste product, neutralize it to be an improved nutrient-filled fertilizer for crop and land application, remove CO2 [carbon dioxide] gas to help with global warming, and finally create a renewable fuel source: biogas." Speaking specifically about odor concerns, Ms. Johnson reported "All twelve of us walked away from the tour confident smell should not stand in the way of adding a biogas solution to our communities. Smell is not an issue."