Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce $500,000 in US Department of Agriculture Funding for Clarkson University

May 17, 2017

Potsdam, NY – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $500,000 in new federal funding for Clarkson University. The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). NIFA grants support research and programs that help dairy producers and growers achieve long-term viability, high yield, and labor efficient production of local agricultural products. Clarkson University will use the funding to advance anaerobic digestion techniques for small-to-medium-scale dairy farmers. The university will work in conjunction with the Cornell Cooperative Extension farm dairy specialists on farms working to improve manure management.

“This federal investment builds on two of New York’s greatest strengths: our amazing educational institutions and our long standing agricultural tradition. The work done at Clarkson will help dairy farmers across the state address new challenges with groundbreaking research. I am committed to securing resources for universities like Clarkson to undertake innovative research projects that help keep our nation’s agricultural and dairy industries ahead of the curve,” said Senator Schumer.

“These federal funds would allow Clarkson University to continue its groundbreaking research to strengthen the dairy industry in the North Country,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “I will continue to support more federal funding for scientific research at our colleges and universities, so that more young people can be inspired to do research, test their ideas, and help make our communities better places to live.”

“As a private, nationally-ranked research university and innovation incubator, Clarkson focuses on bringing research, thought leadership and innovation together, to create tangible commercial value, entrepreneurial growth, and to benefit our society at large,” said Clarkson University President Tony Collins. “Research like this, performed by our students, faculty and staff, will also enable us to address climate change and create a sustainable future, bolstering our commitment to being a green campus in all we do. “We appreciate the support from our Senators and their colleagues.”

“My colleagues at Clarkson and I are grateful for this support, which will allow us to continue our renewable energy and resource recovery project for small-farm anaerobic digesters for North Country farms, in collaboration with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County and Syracuse University,” said Project Director Dr. Stefan J. Grimberg, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “Unlike wind and solar, anaerobic digestion (AD) of farm residue is independent of weather conditions; and can be a baseline power source in a mix of renewables. In addition digester effluent contains valuable nutrients and solids can be used for animal bedding.   In the U.S., AD technology has been adopted by larger-scale livestock farms. Our researchers have developed an AD design and application, which demonstrates the economic viability of AD technology for smaller dairy farms. We hope that through our educational outreach efforts AD technology will be integrated at smaller-scale dairy farmers recovering energy and valuable resources from agricultural wastes improving farm viability and boosting our North Country economy.”

The USDA NIFA program aims to strengthen local food systems and support farmers growing fruits, vegetables, and nursery crops through research, agricultural extension activities, and initiatives to increase demand and address the needs of America’s specialty crop industry.