Thursday, September 3, 2009

Methane

So I am taking part in a Leadership program here in Portage County. There is a group of appx 26 other community members in the program. Each month we get together to learn about different areas of industry in our community, and different leadership strategies/qualities/ideas.

Today's program focused on the history of Portage County and Agriculture. We toured the county, lead by a member of the local historical society. It is amazing to learn about all the history that our county has.

I learned about the polish community that came to Stevens Point, how one man helped move over 1000 families to the area. I visited a church in a small community outside of town that Pope John Paul II visited while he was a Cardinal. Toured a Griss mill, and got to see a china set, where each plate is now worth an estiated $500.

I also toured a Mega Farm. It was a lot different from the farms of my friends from High School. This farm was currently milking around 700 cows. They run 24 hours a day, doing three milkings. They have 7 employees that handle the milking, and they have an amazingly simple process and set up.

They also have a manure digester, the first one of it's kind in the state. This machine turns manure into methane gas, which helps power their farm. They also put energy back into the grid, enough to run 100 homes. Here is where I learned that the manure needs to be kept at 100 degrees in order to produce bacteria, which produces the best methane.

This digester also puts out fertilizer for the fields, and bedding for the cows.

A funny exchange took place today, after a question on breeding.

Farmer: When looking at breeding cows, we look for the ones with the best legs and hooves and healthy udders.

Guy in the crowd: So just like the rest of us.

It was very interesting listening to the farmer talk about the politics of farming, and his views on restrictions put on him because he is a Mega Farm, which are not put on smaller farms.

We are going to have the chance to tour an organic farm, where I assume I am going to get a very different point of view.

Anyway, the moral of this story is, is that I had a very fun day, and got to get back together with a great group of people.

I highly encourage you to see if the community you live in has a similar program, and look into it. If it is anything like this program, you won't be disappointed.

1 comment:

Erik said...

You know who to call when you an a campaign ad for that eventual run at putting those leadership skills in action ;)