Un-fun fact: Each year, agriculture generates 15% to 18% of greenhouse gases worldwide, with cattle a major contributing factor (yep, we’re talking cow poop). Farmer Sue McCloskey and her husband, Mike, have found a way to fight that shocking statistic, with nothing udder than manure: Each day, it’s put into an anaerobic digester, which breaks down waste and collects the gas released in the process. That gas is cleaned until it becomes 99% methane (essentially natural gas), then compressed to fuel 42 trucks that haul the milk to the markets. Nutrients are also extracted from the digested manure to create crop fertilizer. Eventually, the plan is to use water left over from processing to grow duckweed to feed to the cows. “It’s the ultimate in recyclability,” says Sue.
Goal-getters: The dairy industry has committed to reducing the carbon footprint of dairy farms by 25% before 2020, but her farm has already surpassed that goal, says Sue.
Healthy hit: Before they took on greenhouse gases, Sue and Mike discovered a way to naturally concentrate the good things in milk, like protein, while reducing milk’s natural sugars, and launched “smart milk” with Coca-Cola.
Power tool: “My daughter gave me a Wonder Woman bracelet and a beautiful letter telling me how I was her Wonder Woman. It reminds me to be a strong, fair and smart example for her and other young women in my life.”
On my bucket list: “Singing back-up for Bonnie Raitt!”
This story originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of Good Housekeeping.
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