One of the stops on the 2011 CTIC Conservation In Action Tour in northwest Ohio last week was Bridgewater Dairy in Montpelier, where tour participants heard from owner Dr. Leon Weaver about the conservation practices they use to protect water quality in this area so close to Lake Erie.
“We explained the operation of our large dairy farm where we milk about 3,000 cows and how we house and care for the animals to maximize their health and productivity and also make them comfortable,” Weaver said. “And then how we protect the environment through the treatment of our manure in an anaerobic digester and the nutrient balance of our fields to produce crops to feed back to our cows.”
Weaver says they try to recycle as much as possible on the operation. “For example, water gets used a minimum of three times,” he said. “First to cool our milk, second to irrigate our crops, and third to wash something.” In addition, the manure which is used to produce electricity and fertilizer is also used to make cow bedding. “When the manure comes out of the digester, it’s nearly bacteria-free. We press the solids out to create something that feels and looks about like peat moss and we put that back in as bedding for the cows.”
A family owned business, Bridgewater Dairy includes three separate entities – Bridgewater Dairy LLC, Bridgewater Farming LLC, and Oakshade Dairy LLC. Together the operations milk 4200 Holstein Dairy Cows and farm over 4000 acres of ground in Northwest Ohio. Find out more about them on BridgewaterDairy.com and listen to or download my interview with Leon here: Dr. Leon Weaver on CTIC Tour