Why We Compost
The Cowsmo logo tells a story. It is based on a painting of Rosenholm Dairy which depicts, among other things, the beautiful landscape of the Waumandee Valley. The crops in the foreground are grown in conservation strips which wrap around the hillsides, holding the soil in place and protecting streams from runoff contamination. An interest in conserving natural resources and using them wisely drove us to compost our manure. We can adequately feed our crops with the separated liquids from the flush process we use to clean our barns along with the manure solids produced in the coldest part of winter when we are not flushing. By composting the separated manure solids and transforming them into a quality by-product that has value for our customers, we are not wasting a valuable resource, and we are not harming the natural resources around us by overloading our fields with nutrients from our manure. We have more nutrients than we need, but our customers need to add nutrients. By transforming our manure into compost, we are able to solve our manure problem, but also address the nutrient needs of our customers.
How We Practice Sustainability
We make a conscious effort while farming and within our compost business to reduce our environmental impact and operate sustainability. That’s why we bed our cows with sawdust from untreated wood, which is a byproduct of the furniture manufacturer located just 20 minutes from our farm. We also source almost all of our potting soil ingredients right here in Wisconsin and Minnesota. By utilizing our manure for fertilizer on our farm and by transforming the manure and selling organic compost to our customers, we are able to reduce our shared reliance on mined or commercial fertilizers. By flushing our barns, we not only achieve an appropriate moisture consistency for composting the separated solids, but we also reduce our fossil fuel consumption, because we don’t have to use farm machinery to clean them out for most of the year. Over time, we continue to explore methods for increasing the environmental sustainability of our dairy farm and our compost business – we are never finished.