Steve Reinford's biggest concern when he initially investigated adding a biodigester to his operation stemmed from the need to ward off odor complaints from encroaching urban neighbors.
More and more residential development was going in closer and closer to his family dairy farm, he told a convention of North American Agricultural Journalists, and he was worried about both manure odor and nutrient runoff.
He has a dairy herd of about 440 cows and initially sized the digester to handle the manure from 1,000 animals, giving himself room to grow. Another surprise from the operation, he said, was learning that a digester can be an effective too even for dairies smaller than his, even for as few as 200 to 300 cows.
Not unexpectedly, he found that the digester saved him money by allowing him to generate his own electricity. And it did the job of eliminating the manure odor and providing tons for dry, fluffy bedding and fertilizer from what used to be a hard-to-manage waste product.
Reinford has three sons, two of whom were already involved in helping manage his 1,035-acre farming operation as well as running the calf-ranching business three miles away where the dairy raises its own calves.
The growth of the business with the addition of the anaerobic biodigester allowed a place for his youngest son to return home to the farm. He has a business degree and will be taking over a lot of the burden of office management from his mother.
But the biggest advantage of all, the growth of a revenue stream coming from a couple of angles was an unexpected and most welcome surprise.
Find out what generates revenue for Steve Reinford by reading the full article in the June Kansas Farmer. Turn to Page 37 in the magazine to read the story.