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Dairy princess discusses the dairy industry and products

Editor:

Hello everyone. This is your 2013-2014 Erie County Dairy Princess here to talk to you about the dairy industry and dairy products. My name is Nicole Achtyl and Iím 19 years old and live in Lawtons, N.Y.

I have grown up around dairy cattle and worked on local small tie stall dairy farms in the area, milking cows. I am going to tell you a little about dairy farms and the environment. How many of us see signs about being green for the planet? They are all over, using less plastic, turning off lines, unplugging cellphone chargers.

Well, did you know the dairy industry is a very go-green supporter, as well? Some farms are putting their own windmills up, for reason as to cut energy costs. Richmond Farms in North Collins has recently put a farm windmill up, to help reduce their carbon footprint. The energy used in the summer, to operate the farm, can be ran by the windmill power.

Other farms are re-using and recycling materials like waste. Phillipís Family Farm in North Collins has put in a flush system to save bedding. Cows are bedded in the stalls with sand, which is very comfortable to cows. Sand happens to be one of the bedding types cows will choose over others. The manure and dirt sand is scraped in the alley between the beds, once cows are moved to the parlor for milking and water flushes all the waste out the barn to a cement pad with a shallow canal that has barely any slope to it, about 1 percent slope.

The water sand and manure slow once they reach this alley and by gravity, the sand settles right away and the manure and water continue to tickle down the alley. The sand is pulled out of the alley and is put in what are called wind-rows, to dry the sand. The sand is turned once a day for about 2 weeks to dry it all the way. The sand is then re-used to bed cows and the water is reused to run the flush system again, and the manure which is separates which a gravity screen is used to put nutrients back into the fields.

Manure can also be used to power the farm by taking the waste and breaking down the methane in it and using it to fuel the energy to run the farm. This is done with a manure digester.

Farmers also can recycletheir plastics and be sure to keep the farms clean. Farmers do a lot to keep their environment healthy and neat; what do you do to help be green for the planet? Email me at eriecodairyprincess@gmail.com and tell me what you do to be green.

If you have any questions relating to dairy farming or dairy products, you can also contact me. I will answer the questions, to the best of my ability.

Remember to have your three servings of dairy products every day, things like milk, cheese and yogurt.

Nicole Achtyl
Lawtons
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