Dairies Recycle Everything

Jim Werkhoven, a dairy farmer in Monroe, Washington and tells us how dairy farmers recyle everything. He operates the farm with his wife, his brother, and his brother's wife. The Werkhoven family has been farming in Monroe for 51 years, and Jim would know because he's 51 years old. His parents bought the farm the year he was born. With around 1,000 cows on the farm, Jim says they recycle virtually everything. They turn the manure into methane and use it for electricity, and they use the manure byproduct as fertilizer. They use sand for the cow beds, and recycle this as well. They've only purchased one load of sand since 2003. The farm uses the flush system to clean its barns, washing all the waste to the end of the barn and then separating the solids from the liquids. They purify the liquids to use again and again. The Werkhovens also recycle the hundreds of thousands of gallons of water that goes through the farm on a daily basis. The Werkhoven Farm is a perfect example of how dairies recycle everything.

Video Transcript:

My name is Jim Werkhoven, and I’m a dairy farmer in Monroe, Washington. I farm here with my wife, and my brother and his wife. And we have about a thousand milk cows. My family’s been farming here for 51 years. I grew up, I was actually born on the farm. I know that we’ve been here 51 years because that’s how old I am, and my parents bought the farm the year I was born.

And real honestly, you have to admit, it’s probably one of the most beautiful places you can think of. It’s a great place to live, and generally it’s a pretty good life.

On this dairy, we recycle virtually everything that I can think of as far as this operation goes. We use the manure on this farm to, well, we actually make methane out of it and generate electricity and then turn around and use all the byproduct from that for fertilizer. We bed our cows on sand, and we recycle that. We’ve actually have only bought one load of sand since 2003. So we’re actually pretty good at that.

We actually use a flush system to clean our barns. And what we do is flush the barns, we separate out the solids, and then clarify the liquid portion and then reuse that, again and again. And we recycle hundreds of thousands of gallons of water every day, so we really use the same water almost continually. 

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