When it comes to caring for their animals, producing milk and protecting the environment, California dairy families are widely recognized as global leaders. Over the past decade, our state’s dairy families have also been on the leading edge of helping our planet cool off through the use of renewable and energy-efficient technologies.
The vast majority of California dairy families have implemented at least one new energy efficiency project on the farm, such as replacing pumps and fans with variable speed drives or installing energy-saving plate coolers to chill milk. Many dairy farmers have also swapped out their incandescent or CFL bulbs for energy-efficient LED or fluorescent lighting. Since 2006, California dairy farmers have saved more than 16 million kilowatt hours (kWh) by making the switch to energy-efficient technologies such as these, according to EnSave.
Dairy families aren’t just using less energy on their farms, they are also generating it.
In recent years more dairy farmers have started looking to the sky to improve energy sustainability, by tapping the sun’s power with solar panel installations right on the farm. At an August 24 press conference on his Hanford dairy, Brian Medeiros announced that a recently installed 1.1 megawatt solar power system will soon begin supplying about 82 percent of his dairy farm’s energy needs.
“This is an exciting day to ensure that we can last into the future,” said Medeiros. “We’re always looking to improve efficiency on our farm to care for the environment.”
Medeiros noted that the largest energy cost on his dairy is related to keeping his cows comfortable through the use of fans and misters to help them stay cool during warm Central Valley summers.
“This solar power system will also help us get through this challenging drought, by lowering energy costs to pump water due to lack of surface water,” said Medeiros, who fallowed 60 percent of his 1,400 acre farm due to California’s ongoing drought.
California dairy families are doing their part to ensure a sustainable, green energy future for the health of all Californians. They remain committed to protecting the environment, while producing the affordable, nutritious and safe dairy products consumers around the world depend upon and enjoy.
Dairy Cares is a statewide coalition supporting economic and environmental sustainability and responsible animal care. Our members include Bar 20 Dairy Farms, California Cattlemen’s Association, California Dairies Inc., California Dairy Campaign, California Farm Bureau Federation, Conestoga-Rovers and Associates, Dairy Farmers of America-Western Area Council, Dairy Institute of California, Harris Construction, Hilmar Cheese Co., HP Hood, Joseph Gallo Farms, Land O’Lakes, Milk Producers Council, Ruan Transport Corp., Western United Dairymen, Yosemite Farm Credit and others. For information, visit our web site or call 916-441-3318.