Dairy farmer Adam Graft is the first dairy farmer in the state of Georgia to use a methane digester on the farm.
“I went this route for a variety of reasons,” says Adam. “Ultimately, I want to be able to pass the dairy on to future generations, and we want to be a very sustainable dairy that takes care of our environment, that takes care of our cows and people.
A methane digester, also known as an anaerobic digester, decomposes cow manure quickly and captures gases like methane. In a closed tank without oxygen, microorganisms break down organic materials like manure or food waste. When bacteria break down the waste, it creates biogas, or a mixture of gases.
Rather than leaving the manure to decompose naturally and release the gases into the atmosphere, these captured gases provide fuel for the farm or surrounding community and can be used for electricity, heat, compressed natural gas, and even vehicle fuel.
As to why dairy farmers choose to install digesters, Adam puts it best. “We can keep methane out of the atmosphere. It’s just the right thing to do.”
Digesters are sustainable in other ways, too. Methane digesters can also create materials for the farm to use, like fertilizers and compost or cow bedding.
To learn more about digesters and the steps dairy farmers like Adam are taking to become carbon neutral by 2050, watch The Dairy Alliance’s new documentary The Dairy Truth, which was released this week.
After you watch, you can discover dairy farmers’ sustainability successes on our Sustainability and the Dairy Industry page.