How does your local dairy farm affect the environment?

 by Natalia Sudol

 When one thinks of emissions, the mind of most quickly comes up with an image of a big SUV car or a huge truck. Not many think of dairy farms, which are responsible for 18% of the green house emissions.  Dairy farms emissions consist of making the products such as cheese or milk, but also taking care of the animals and their waste. [Cows produce 120 pounds of waste per cow per day. According to the article linked below.] Most farms are unaware of how much damage they are causing to the environment as whole or even to the towns surrounding them. One of the biggest dairy farms in the United States called Threemile Canyon Farms is located 160 miles away from Portland, OR.
The next question that one might have after learning about how dairy farms affect the environment is whether anything is being done about this issue. J-U-B Engineers Inc. of Boise took this issue seriously and designed a machine that is able to use some of the waste created by the animals and creation of dairy products and converting that into fuel for some of the machines used at the farms.  So far the experimental trials of this machine were conducted at the Threemile Canyon Farms and have proven to significantly lower the emissions.
The issue that has presented itself after the design was completed was who was going to pay to have these machines created for all the dairy farms in the United States. Some local dairy farms have taken action and have been collecting donations. Also some bigger corporations, such as NW Natural have asked their customers to contribute to this cause by increasing their utility bill by 6$.
What one can hope is that in the nearest future, the biodigester machine trials will be completed and the machine will become available to all dairy farms in an effort to reduce the emissions created by these farms. As this issue becomes more popular in the media, more supporters of this new way of helping the environment will gain supporters and hopefully financial donations will start flowing in the direction of the smaller local farms which can not afford such expensive machinery at their farms. 

Here is a shortened version:
1. Dairy farms are responsible for a huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions.
2. Biggest dairy farm is in Oregon, meaning it produces more greenhouse gas emissions than smaller dairy farms.
3. Green house emissions affects everyone, whether one lives within a 10 mile radius or on the east coast.  
4. If we bring attention to this issue, more people will know about it and will be able to help out in any way possible to get these machines into dairy farms across the United States, thus lessening the green house emissions.

For more information about this issue check out these articles: