Russ Davis wants more cow manure. He’s the president of Organix, a Walla Walla based company, with production facilities in Yakima County that specialize in converting cow manure into compost.
“We look for dairies that like to export their manure,” explained Davis, who works with several Yakima Valley dairies. “Dairies have their own manure management plans, whether it’s turning manure into cow bedding or using it to fertilize their crops. So that reduces the availability.”
Today marks the 41st anniversary of Earth Day, an annual celebration to inspire people to live more sustainable lives. As dairy farmers, we’re all about preserving the land we depend on and encourage others to treat every day as Earth Day.
Even taking small steps toward sustainability can add up to big change. Whether you pledge to plant a tree, swap to a compact fluorescent light bulb or carpool with a coworker, you can help make a difference. Here are some other ideas:
In December 2009, America’s dairy industry concluded a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) that provides dairy farmers and their representative organizations with access to funding for innovative projects that will enhance the sustainability of dairy farms across the nation. USDA has indicated that $130 million in federal funding for these purposes will be made available during 2010-13.
Because Washington’s dairy farms use water for livestock, crops and other on-the-farm needs, they accept a special responsibility to protect all water resources. Though there are challenges in minimizing agriculture's impact on the environment, dairy farmers utilize extensive planning, best management practices and emerging technologies to both limit their use of water and ensure that surface and ground waters are protected for years to come.
There are many innovations to be found on Washington's dairy farms. Reducing carbon through effective management practices and ground-breaking new techniques helps improve the environment and leave a better world for future generations.