With three young children, Cliff and Andrea Sensenig wanted to find a way to make their Kirkwood, Pa., dairy farm last for generations to come. As the family explored options, they realized that one piece of technology, which they originally considered out of their league, could work for them – they just needed to get creative.
The technology? An anaerobic digester system. Traditionally used on larger farms, a digester allows the farmer to capture the methane gas released by their cows’ manure and transform that gas into electricity. Since the Sensenigs own a smaller herd, about 100 cows, they needed to find a way to collect enough manure to fuel the digester.
Their solution? Working with their community to collect manure from neighboring pig and chicken farms and receive food waste from local groceries provided the family with enough waste to power the digester. Today, this equipment creates enough electricity to power not only the farm, but 140 homes in their community.
Together, World Wildlife Fund and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy are working to address these sustainability challenges and help feed a growing global population while maintaining a living planet. Since 2009, WWF and the Innovation Center have worked to advance mutual conservation goals and improve the environmental sustainability of the dairy industry. We are working together with the nation’s dairy farmers to develop, adopt and share new, science-based practices, leading to a more sustainable dairy industry.
Know of someone in your community who you’d like to nominate for one of the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards? If so, click here to learn more.