On a map he keeps in his office, Ram Shrivastava, Principal at Larsen Engineers, marks a nearby spot that he says is one of the main milk hubs of the state of New York. The area houses 5 big dairy farms and about 30,000 cows within its County area.
However, it’s not the “impressive” scale of the local dairy farming activity that Ram wants to talk about.
His concern is the stream of manure and sewage flowing from those dairy farms into local watersheds under extreme wet weather conditions.
It pollutes our water resources—additionally contributing to the growth of algae which reduces oxygen for plants and other aquatic life.
Worryingly, this is just the tip of the iceberg as Ram says; the actual environmental impact of dairy farming is far more serious and needs anaerobic digester for manure treatment.
He goes on to identify other, often unaccounted and rarely discussed impacts of dairy farming:
- Massive carbon footprint involved in the raising and fertilizing of crops that are used to feed livestock
- High consumption of water required to clean dairy facilities, keep dairy cows hydrated and grow crops
- Severe soil erosion resulting from overgrazing and soil impaction activities of dairy cows.
Dairy farming is undoubtedly a crucial driving wheel of the U.S. economy. Its products are widely used domestically, commercially and industrially. The concept of healthy living—healthy products—is hard to imagine without its existence. However, it also has some negative aspects to it that cannot be ignored. Fortunately grant incentives are available now to take action and solve both environmental problem and produce renewable energy.
It’s high time the environmental impact of dairy farming be taken seriously.
Ram has over 30 years of experience in the design and execution of Anaerobic digesters for dairy farming and food processing sustainability projects. While working at Larsen Engineers, he has helped many regional dairy farms adopt environmental friendly practices and operations.
The good news is many dairy farm owners have started realizing the environmental impact of their dairy farming activities and are actively looking for solutions. However, the awareness is still lacking in many farm owners. We all need to come together and work toward making this world a better place to live in.
Larsen Engineers specializes in the site analysis and system design, funding, implementation and management of anaerobic digesters. These systems are used by dairy farm owners to turn cow dung and farm waste into biogas which in turn is utilized to power plants and run delivery trucks. Besides providing farm waste management solutions, the company also excels in the engineering and implementation of farm solar systems.
For further reading: All You Need To Know About Anaerobic Digesters