Dungeness Valley Creamery’s dedication to environmental stewardship continues with the newest project on their conserved property along Towne Road. Dairy owners Ryan and Sarah McCarthy have been planning to update their antiquated manure management system since 2015. Up until this time, the Creamery has been relying on an open rectangular manure lagoon, located immediately west of the cow barn. Ryan describes this current lagoon as outdated and lacking a liner to prevent potential leaching into the groundwater. The solution? A brand new above-ground manure holding tank to significantly improve manure management practices at the creamery.
The new tank will have many benefits –including a liner to prevent liquids from leaching into the ground. Although the tank will be able to accommodate a larger storage volume, it has a smaller footprint, which will take up less ground area and capture less rainwater. A built-in mixing system will blend the manure evenly so it can be applied back onto the fields with a beneficial balance of nutrients. The enclosed, above-ground design will also improve site safety and provide increased odor control for the many families who enjoy visiting the farm to interact with the cows, browse the store, and enjoy an ice cream cone. The tank will be erected south of the dairy barn and associated buildings, in a location selected for the soil’s ability to support the tank weight. (The McCartheys expect to decommission/remove the old manure lagoon in the summer of 2021.) Because of the importance this new system plays in updating their dairy operations, the Creamery was able to secure critical funding and support from the Clallam Conservation District and the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service to purchase the holding tank and associated equipment.
“We are excited to see Dungeness Valley Creamery continue to build their legacy of environmental stewardship on conserved land,” say North Olympic Land Trust Director Tom Sanford. “Over the years, Ryan and Sarah have made so many improvements, including installing solar panels, converting to energy efficient light and heat, and utilizing reclaimed water to flush out the barn.” For his part, Ryan enjoys the challenges of upgrading Washington State’s largest and longest-running raw milk dairy. “It’s a lot of fun for us to find projects and run things differently,” Ryan explains, “We have a long term goal of net zero energy consumption.”
To learn more about Dungeness Valley Creamery, click here.