William F. Lazarus

Activities, Projects, and Interests

Renewable Energy

Energy Crop Economic Feasibility

Economic Impact of a Second Generation Biofuels Facility, Tuck, B and W. Lazarus, University of Minnesota Center for Community Vitality (October 2013)

Minnesota Crop Cost & Return Guide for 2011 (Projected costs and returns for corn grain, soybeans, wheat, corn silage, alfalfa hay, and energy crops) (pdf) (November 2010).

  • See also CROPBUD.xls and CROPBUD_BIOMASS.xls, Projected 2013 crop enterprise budget spreadsheets to accompany the cost and return guide but updated, contain detailed prices and quantities not included in the publication.

Economic Impacts of Establishing Short Rotation Woody Crops to Support Energy Production in Minnesota, Staff Paper P09-2 (pdf) (January 2009)

  • See also a later version as William F. Lazarus, Douglas G. Tiffany, Ronald S. Zalesny,, Jr. and Don E.Riemenschneider, "Economic Impacts of Short Rotation Woody Crops for Energy or Oriented Strand Board: A Minnesota Case Study," in the Journal of Forestry, Vol. 109, No. 3, pp. 149-156, May/June 2011.

Energy Crop Production Costs and Breakeven Prices under Minnesota Conditions, Staff Paper P08-11 (pdf) (December 2008)

Farm-Based Anaerobic Digester Economics

Carbon Prices Required to Make Digesters Profitable on U.S. Dairy Farms of Different Sizes, Staff Paper P11-1 (pdf) (January 2011)

Economics of Anaerobic Digesters for Processing Animal Manure, eXtension web page (November 2009)

Anaerobic Digester Technology, presented at "The Role of Extension in Energy" Conference, Little Rock, AR, June 30-July 1, 2009 (pdf)

Review of the literature on the economics of central anaerobic digesters, Staff paper P08-9 (pdf) (December 2008)

Farm-Based Anaerobic Digesters as an Energy and Odor Control Technology: Background and Policy Issues, USDA Office of Energy Policy and New Uses, Agricultural Economic Report Number 843, by William F. Lazarus.

An Analysis of Energy Production Costs from Anaerobic Digestion Systems on U.S. Livestock Production Facilities, by Beddoes, Bracmort, Burns, and Lazarus, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Technical Note No. 1.  

See also Lazarus, W. and M. Rudstrom. "The Economics of Methane Digester Operation on Minnesota Dairy Farms" in the Review of Agricultural Economics 29(Summer 2007):349-364.  

A 2007 project funded from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund resulted in development of Digester_Econ.xls, an Excel spreadsheet for doing rough initial calculations of annual costs and returns to be expected from owning and operating a methane digester on a dairy farm.

  • Digester_Econ.xlsm (Requires MS Excel 2007 or later. You will be asked to provide your contact information.)

Note: Several other digester economic calculators are available on the EPA AgSTAR website. Click here to visit the AgSTAR website.

In 1999, Haubenschild Farms installed a plug-flow anaerobic digester on their dairy farm. Since the date of the installation for their digester, the Haubenschilds have been very active in studying the digester and effects on their farm. Through a grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), The Minnesota Project partnered with the University of Minnesota and Haubenschild Farms to study and educate farmers on the economics and benefits of digesters and digested manure compared to other dairy systems.

The links below take you to our reports, which are stored on the website of Minnesota Project, Inc.

Overview fact sheet (pdf 86KB)

Entire final report to the NRCS for all project results (pdf 472KB)

Economic evaluation of anaerobic digester-economic section for the final report only (pdf 105KB)

Factsheet summarizing project results relating to the economic evaluation (pdf 136KB)

Factsheet comparing the competitiveness of confinement dairies to grazing dairies (pdf 86KB)


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