ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) - Cow manure might just be the next big thing for one New Mexico county.
Chaves County commissioners approved a bond Thursday paving the way for a company to start processing livestock manure into usable fuel.
Piles of manure line dozens of Roswell dairy farms as solid waste that goes unused.
"It's a lot of manure everyday, everyday, everyday, so it's a cost that we encourage the dairy to get rid of, and then its an environmental problem that we all recognize," said Nature's Dairy Farm owner Jerry Greathouse.
Greathouse says on average he and his workers spend about four hours cleaning up the excrement.
"When you have high concentrations of manure you just need better ways of handling it," said Chaves County Commissioner James Duffy.
The commission unanimously passed a $20 million bond Thursday to allow a bio-gas company to start processing the dairy waste into a form of natural gas.
They say the manure and bio-fuel will ultimately be funneled via pipeline to California.
"It will clean it up," said Greathouse. "It should take we're guessing somewhere from 70 to 90 percent of the manure, and it will be processed to make methane."
And the project won't only benefit the farmers. According to county commissioners it's a win for the surrounding communities as well.
"It's a benefit for the dairy men. It's a benefit for the county. It provides some more jobs, so it's kind of a win-win for the whole deal," Duffy adds.
Duffy says the project will bring in about 50 new jobs while taking out some of the unwanted waste.
"It is a community thing. It's an environmental thing for our industry, and we are hoping this will help us all sustain what we are trying to do for future generations and clean up the environment," said Greathouse.
Revenue from the gas will go to a fuel company that's signed on to the project as well as investors and dairy farmers.
Commissioners say this is just one step to finalizing the bio-fuel project.
They say they will meet Oct. 17 to approve the project as a whole.
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Department of Agriculture officials are warning customers to not get burned when buying firewood.
Church groups, parents and teachers met Sunday at the 20th annual Albuquerque Interfaith Convention. State education reform was their central focus.