The Larson Dairy Farm in Okeechobee County is at the forefront of a renewable industry.
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There’s been a rise in turning farm waste into energy and the Larson family is doing their part to help make it happen.

“We want to reduce our carbon print as much as possible, which is why we’ve installed methane digesters,” said Jenna Larson.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and is expected to cause half the global warming in the next two decades, and according to scientists, a lot comes from cows.

“If anyone is going to save the world, it’s the cow,” farmer Collen Larson said.

They’re using digesters to convert methane from cow manure into natural gas.

“This is a pit here and we basically take the manure from the farm, from the cows, and we’re letting that digest,” said Cole Verano, a University of Florida student majoring in Agriculture sustainability.

Verano’s father manages the Larson farm.

“Over here, we have the gas methane, which is then going to be compressed and turned into a liquid so it can be pumped into the pipeline,” Verano said.

The Larson family has partnered with Brightmark Energy, and according to its website, the gas will be delivered into the local, interstate gas pipeline system.

The dairy district as a whole has committed to being carbon neutral by 2050.

“There will be a total of four methane digesters and each one of them will be at a dairy farm with somewhere about 2,000 cows and each digester will have enough power, eventually, to power the equivalent of about a thousand homes each,”
Colleen Larson said. “That’s a lot of energy that they produce so it might look like a waste product to us, but it’s pretty valuable when we turn it into methane.”

Officials are currently doing test runs.

The renewable natural gas project at the Larson Dairy Farm is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

Eleven organic dairy farms in Vermont closed in 2021. The next year, 18 more followed. And this year, the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont expects to lose another 28 farms.

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