Conventional and Organic - The Environment Matters

November 03, 2016

jersey cow and farm kids

We are a two-bin household – one for garbage and one for recycling. Our son, Tyler, is in charge of taking both the garbage and recycling bins out on recycling day. “We need to recycle everything mom,” he states. I explained to him that we are doing a pretty good job, especially considering that our recycling bin was overflowing and our garbage bin barely had anything in it.

After watching The Lorax for a school fieldtrip, one of Tyler’s homework assignments was to highlight ways we recycle at home. Tyler, who is always thinking, took his project one step further and explained how we recycle at our dairy farm. Our farm would be considered a conventional dairy farm, but that doesn’t mean environmental stewardship is any less of a priority for us than any other type of farm.
 
What Tyler shared in his assignment is something that happens at Bohnert Farm 365 days a year, not just on “recycling day.” Dairy farmers like us live and work on their farm. It is very important to us to protect our land, water and air for our animals, families, surrounding communities and for our future generation.
 
Every day our kids see sustainability efforts in motion:
 
  • We haul our cows’ manure to the fields, which works as a natural fertilizer and is injected into the soil to maximize absorption and minimize odor.
  • We reuse the well water that cools down the temperature of our milk for our cattle to drink.
  • We include recovered by-products in our cows’ diets.
  • We use chopped straw and recycled newspaper for cows’ bedding.
Dairy farmers speak volumes for being green in our efforts – and just like The Lorax, feel it’s extremely important to take good care of our natural resources that give so much back to us.
 
Next time you pull your recycling bin to the curb or watch The Lorax, think of your local dairy farmer whose recycling and sustainability efforts are put to work every day to take care of their cows, their land and quite honestly, our planet.
 
This post first appeared on midwestdairy.com, and is used with permission.

 

Karen Bohnert

Scott and Karen Bohnert East Moline, IL

Karen and her husband, Scott,  raise dairy cattle with his parents and brother. In addition to milking 500 Jersey cows, they also grow corn, soybeans, wheat and rye. They have three children: Tyler, Cassie and Jacob.

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