- Resources for Farmers
- Resources for Educators
- Resources for the Public
- GIM Workshops
- Grown in Marin Newsletter PDFs
- Grown in Marin Newsletter Articles
Archived Related News Items
- 5 Stops on a California Cheese Trail
- Double sofi Gold Awards For Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese
- Bay Area wheat makes a comeback
- Cowgirl Creamery's founders blend traits
- Where less product is better
- Go Ahead, Milk My Day
- Stanford study unlikely to slow momentum of Marin's organic food movement
- Work to keep cattle away from creeks seeks to improve water quality in West Marin
- Marin's Green Gulch, a pioneer in organic farming, celebrates 40 years
- FoodWorks Finds New Markets for Local Growers
- New generation of West Marin ranchers coming back to the family farm
- Cream of the Crop
- Surge in gopher population in Tam Valley
- Sowing organic seeds of success at College of Marin's Novato campus
- Local food: No elitist plot
- Rethinking the farm
- New canning company helps preserve Marin's farms
- He's Full of It
- UC Davis launches agricultural sustainability degree
- Working from the heart: The legacy of a Point Reyes farming family
- Meat Distribution Part 2: Technology on the Range
- Making a cheese statement
- College of Marin launches apprentice program for farmers
- The future of Gravenstein apples hangs on a thin stem
- Across the Bay Area, urban farming is in season
- Fresh from the farm
- New farmers find their footing
- Could farms survive without illegal labor?
- IVC's organic farm is Project of the Year
- The Unpaid Intern, Legal or Not
- Six Stories Above Queens, a Fine Spot for a Little Farming
- Marin's farmers hang on despite drop in milk prices
- Farm internships in Oregon
- Mature at last, Marin County's cheeses stand alone
- College of Marin leading the whey in cheese education
- Land trust has kept Marin's farms in business for 30 years
- Marin County farmers and ranchers plan for success
- Till life: Marin History Museum's latest exhibit shows why our county ag industry hasn't, er...bought the farm
- College of Marin launches organic farm at Indian Valley campus
- College of Marin's organic farming students get hands-on experience
- Point Reyes workshop aims to put a chicken in every backyard
- After 21 years, UC Extension director turns author
- Coastal meandering
- COM wins grant for farm program
- From the Farm to Your Table: A Consumer’s Guide to Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Publication
- Novato grocer connects with local farmers
- Sonoma County consumers buy locally produced meat
- Dairies feel pinch of climbing costs
- County Line Farm moves west
- You are invited to apply for funding for agricultural worker housing
- The grass isn't always greener
- Goat farm producing natural, sustainable meat
- Non profits help local farms
- A banner year for Marin farms with record revenues for 2007
- MALT closes $2.7 million deal to preserve farmland
- Supervisors commit $200,000 for farmworkers' housing
- Sonoma farm to table
- Take a haycation on a North Bay farm
- Cuisine scene: Marin's bounty ready for its close-up
- Cafeteria Crusaders: They're changing the way kids eat
- Versatile Spuds
- Growing Concern - Some Marin Farmers Market vendors say the economy is slowing business
- Organic Marin - Marin farmers find success with organic food
- It's all about the cheese
- If It’s Fresh and Local, Is It Always Greener?
- Food Conscious: Is Organic Better? It Depends.
- 2007 Census of Agriculture
- The faces behind the farmers
- Now that's natural gas
- Marin experiences an early but fruitful harvest
- UC Examines Cost of Producing Strawberries
- Farmers markets thrive in Marin
- Taste of Marin - 2007 style
- Farm Bill 2007: What it means for Marin - Part I
- Production beginning for UCCE’s Hidden Bounty of Marin documentary
- Toluma Goat Dairy in Tomales
- What will happen to our cattle when the slaughterhouse is gone?
- Pastured eggs catching on
- Marin Sun Farms Newsletter
- Farming on the Edge of Change
- UC researcher: farmers markets benefit local economies
- Family Farms in Peril
- The Farm Bill and California food and agriculture
- California cheeses: the next wave
- The new food crusade
- 847 sheep shorn in nine hours
- Bee news
- UCCE Marin Intern Program welcomes Anne Kehoe
- Farming on the edge . . . of change
- Marin Farmers Market awarded as environmental educator
- Milk cow blues
- W. Marin man hopes frozen sperm takes ranch to 'next level'
- A 'nobody' no more
- Rhapsody in Blue
- Drive-by shooter targets cattle in West Marin
- Cheese unplugged
- Green Giants
- The Faces of Organic/Clover Stornetta Farms
- New kids on the block
- Organic dairy certification workshop
- Demand for organic outruns supply
- Volunteers, with cows in tow, join war on thistle
- New Release Offering – Marin Wines
- Last slaughterhouse closing
- Organic evolution: farming a natural choice for Tomales woman
- Leslie Harlib's Cuisine Scene: Go West
- Leslie Harlib's Social Scene: Festive fund raising, organically
- New high quality feed discovered: Wooly Distaff Thistle
- Organic Dairy Workshop in Tomales
- This time, “grass fed” really means “grass fed.”
- Marin Farm Families- Stories & Recipes
- Organic education: Bolinas, Stinson students to get fresh lunches
- Obesity war's latest battlefront: the school cafeteria School nutrition is activists' passion
- Pampering pumpkins
- Buying Local
- Marin Sonoma Livestock Workgroup
- Taste of Marin - Celebrating Marin County Agriculture
- Renowned author Wendell Berry tours Bolinas farm, applauds agrarian efforts
- Organic Beef — Natural Meat Steaks Its Claim
- Dionisio Choperena -- in ad, life a shepherd
- Back to the ranch
- Going organic
- Ranchers and farmers meet in W. Marin to discuss future of agriculture
- Market growing for Marin olive oil producers, sellers
- Point Reyes Station dairy is losing its cows - and its reputation
- Marin dairy farmers face hard times as corn costs rise
- Is Organic Food Really a Better Buy?
- The Marin Center for Sustainable Agriculture is on its way here
- Farm Bureau lunch to honor our county government & supporters
- A Drop in the Bucket: reclaiming water for farming
- Successful first year at new Worsley Farms location in Point Reyes
- Study examines farms' vitality
- Cheese producers hailed as model for West Marin development
- AGRIBUSINESS - Organic Erosion
- Coming in from the cold
- Tiburon entrepreneur hopes to make cheese where the buffalo roam
- UC ANR Publications
- Photos of Marin Agriculture
Now that's natural gas
NOW THAT'S NATURAL GAS: FRANCISCAN DAIRY OUTSIDE PETALUMA GOES GREEN BY CONVERTING METHANE FROM COW MANURE INTO ENERGY
Published on September 26, 2007
© 2007- The Press Democrat
BYLINE: DEREK J. MOORE
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Talk about tail pipe emissions.
St. Anthony Farm, a 315-acre dairy west of Petaluma, is the first in Sonoma County to convert cow doo-doo into renewable bio-gas.
So long as 250 dairy cows keep up with their end of the bargain, the farm will have an inexhaustible supply of energy for milking operations, a new creamery and many other needs.
``Poop to power,' was how the Rev. John Hardin described the technology Tuesday at a ceremony to mark the occasion at the Valley Ford Road farm.
In addition to being an organic dairy, St. Anthony also offers a rehabilitation program for drug- and alcohol-addicted homeless men. The farm is owned and operated by the Franciscan Order of the Catholic Church.
The star of the show Tuesday, however, was a 2.3-million gallon lagoon where cow dung fermented beneath billowing black tarps.
From there, the contents are piped to a machine that converts the methane into bio-gas. Farm officials hope to generate 80 kilowatts of power, enough to provide for most of St. Anthony's electricity needs.
The farm is now one of only a handful of dairies across the state to use a methane digester.
Supporters say the systems are good for the environment by reducing greenhouse gases. Covering the manure also could help with what is charitably known as ``Sonoma aroma,' a seasonal wafting of foul odors across the countryside.
Such systems can be expensive to install, although St. Anthony officials on Tuesday did not provide figures, saying the costs were combined with the new creamery, which will make butter for Clover-Stornetta.
At the height of California's energy crisis in 2001, the state earmarked $10 million to help defray some of the costs. But that money is running out, according to Michael Marsh, the chief executive officer of Western United Resource Development.
Marsh, who was among about two dozen local, state and federal officials at Tuesday's ceremony, said the challenge is coming up with new incentives for farmers to use the digesters.
He said some farmers produce more electricity than they need, but end up giving the surplus away to power companies.
``If St. Anthony Farm was to generate enough power that they were able to export electricity, they wouldn't be paid for it,' Marsh said.
Neil Winters, a senior project manager for PG&E, said the power company in some cases can't use bio-gas from dairy farms because it has not been cleaned of harmful byproducts, such as hydrogen sulfide.
But he also acknowledged that PG&E has yet to fully embrace the concept of bio-gas, and he said figuring out a formula for reimbursing farmers for the power they sell would be a ``complicated' equation.
``Six months ago, I wouldn't have talked about bio-digesters,' Winters said.
St. Anthony officials say their only goal for the moment is to power the farm using renewable fuels, a goal they say fits the farm's social values of helping others in need.
St. Anthony Farm became the second Sonoma County dairy to go organic and the third dairy in the North Coast to abandon pesticides and antibiotics to produce a milk that some consumers perceive as safer and cleaner.
The digester also helps with the farm's bottom line. Butter sales are expected to reach $20,000 a month, according to Hardin, who said the farm's annual budget is $19 million.
He also said the 45 homeless men who live at the farm will earn stipends working in the creamery, in addition to job skills that can aid their road to recovery.
You can reach Staff Writer Derek J. Moore at 521-5336 or firstname.lastname@example.org.