COVENTRY - U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) visited Hytone Farm in Coventry Tuesday to learn about the anaerobic digester, a system at the farm which uses manure and food waste to produce renewable electricity.
"It's really a work of magic," Murphy said.
The project, which received approximately $5 million in funding, entails reducing methane emissions not only from manure storage, but also from food waste that would otherwise be landfilled to help Connecticut reach its statewide food diversion goals.
In addition, the system produces up to 4.4 million kWh of renewable energy to be used by local municipalities, including the City of New Britain, as it helps power their government buildings.
4.4 million kWh is enough electricity to power 600 homes per year or 700 electric vehicles annually.
The project is called Hytone Ag-Grid and is a partnership between Hytone Farm and Ag-Grid Energy of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.
Ag-Grid Energy was founded in 2016 by Rashi Akki with the mission of helping small to midsize dairy farms become environmentally and economically sustainable in a changing agricultural industry.
"This is really a win, win, win project," Murphy said. "It's expensive, we got to figure out a way to get the cost of this system down. But it's providing a lot of benefits to the farm and to the state."
Following his tour of the digester, Murphy held a roundtable with Connecticut dairy farmers to discuss priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill, which was part of his "Our Farm Bill" listening campaign tour.
The Farm Bill sets national agriculture, nutrition, conservation and forestry policy and must be reauthorized by Congress every five years.
The roundtable was not open to the press, however, Murphy said beforehand that priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill include lending more support for Connecticut's small dairy farms, beginner farmers and small-scale crop productions.
Murphy said the 2023 Farm Bill was originally planned to be written by Sept. 30, however that time frame will most likely be pushed back.
"My guess is that we're going to be working the rest of the year to write the Farm Bill," he said.
Murphy will share the feedback he gathers during the "Our Farm Bill" listening campaign with the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee and use that information to inform his advocacy on the 2023 Farm Bill.