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Madison — Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary Ben Brancel is encouraging farmers to attend a seminar on February 1 to learn more about the Request for Proposals for a manure biodigester system.

The seminar, offered by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, is scheduled 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1. It will be held at the UW-Oshkosh Alumni Welcome & Conference Center.

"The seminar will be an excellent networking opportunity for farmers who have questions about the RFP, says Secretary Brancel, “Being able to meet one-on-one with the businesses looking to create a consortium and invest in the project and learn how their farming operation might benefit from participating as well as knowing the challenges will assist in the decision making process.”

Registration is open until 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26. To register, go to http://psc.wi.gov/biogas/events.htm. A three-question survey precedes the registration screen.

Questions about the request for proposals for any of the three agencies involved can also be submitted until 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26. Send questions to OEI@wisconsin.gov.

“This project aligns with Governor Walker’s goal of supporting the agriculture economy in the State while ensuring our natural resources are safe and healthy. I hope that farmers and businesses will seriously consider participating in this opportunity,” Brancel says.

In an effort to improve water quality, Governor Scott Walker asked the PSC, DATCP, and DNR to partner and seek solutions through a request for proposals late last year. The collaboration resulted in a request for businesses and farmers to build, operate, and maintain manure treatment systems to produce renewable energy in the form of biogas and incorporate a system for treating wastewater that will capture nutrients and reduce pathogens. The RFP is available on the homepage of the Public Service Commission or http://psc.wi.gov/biogas/rfp.htm.

To make this public-private project possible, the Public Service Commission authorized Focus on Energy to spend up to $20 million for integrated anaerobic digester projects that meet Focus on Energy eligibility requirements.

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