When Texas dairy farmer Sieto Mellema looks out among his 3,000 cows and thousands of acres of crops, he doesn’t see a factory. Today Mellema discusses a question people may have about large farms: Do they pollute the environment?
The name of Mellema’s farm – Full Circle Jerseys – has a meaning that may be unfamiliar to those outside of the dairy industry. Here’s its inspiration: Mellema grows crops that are fed to his cows, the cows produce manure that is used as a natural fertilizer for the crop, the crops flourish and are then harvested to feed the cows. Hence, his dairy, like many across the United States, operates in a “full circle” that is sustainable.
“We’ve always been sustainable, but we like to take it to the next level. You don’t just produce one product, ship it and you’re done,” Mellema said. “We take that product and we create another product, and we create byproducts that we put back into the system such as manure, compost and waste water. It’s a giant circle that we live in. We try to take care of that circle and maintain its integrity the best way we can.”
Have other questions about large farms? Mellema provides other answers here.