Art Mensonides is a dairy farmer in Mabton, Washington. Originally from The Netherlands, he and his family immigrated to Washington in 1989 to start a dairy. In 2002, they built the current farm, and its current operations are just one more example of how Washington dairy farmers are contributing to our state’s environmental sustainability.
The focus at Mensonides Dairy is to care for its cows and put out high-quality dairy products, while simultaneously caring for the environment through an emphasis on composting and the reuse of water. To do this, Art installed a separator system. The process is extremely "green" and minimizes the dairy’s carbon footprint.
The free-stall dairy setup allows for the capture of virtually all of the animal waste. The waste makes its way to into the greenline and into the separation system. First, a series of tanks separates the manure solids and liquids to some degree for even further segregation in the separation facility.
Inside the separation facility, the waste is run through a series of rotary drums with cleaning screens. Each progressive screen produces a finer solid with a higher percentage of nutrients. Some of these solids end up in separate piles that are later used for cow bedding. Others move on to the final phase of the separation in a large centrifuge. Two rotating drums use centrifugal force to extract all of the water, similar to the spin cycle on a washing machine. The result is a fine chalk-like substance, almost as fine as dust. This byproduct is packed with nutrients and composted for fertilizer.
Water is a critical resource in Mabton, and the goal is to recover and reuse asmuch water as possible. The closed-loop system provided by the separators uses as few resources as possible, including water. Instead of pulling water from the river or a well to irrigate, Mensonides Dairy can pull water from its pond over and over again.
Washington dairy farmers are committed to their communities and being good stewards of the land. Art Mensonides and his dairy are the epitome of dair's commitment to renewing our resources. It’s efforts like these that have earned Washington several U.S Dary Sustainability Awards in recent years; and most importantly, these are the efforts that will continue to make Washington a great place to live now and in the future.
Watch the full separator process here: Mensonides Dairy Doesn't Waste the Waste.