Q: How many dairy cows, on average, are there per farm in the Yahara Watershed?
A: As of 2011, there were 579 dairy cows per farm on average in the Yahara Watershed.
Q: What is a manure digester?
A: A digester is a machine that turns cow waste into energy. Cow manure is processed in airtight tanks that are heated to 100 degrees, the same temperature as a cow’s stomach. The bacteria in the manure thrive in these conditions, removing solids from the waste and releasing methane gas. The methane gas is collected at the top of the digester, and is being used by MG&E to provide electricity to approximately 2,500 homes.
Q: Why is too much nutrient runoff bad for the watershed?
A: When too many nutrients, such as phosphorus, enter the waterways in the watershed, algae begins to grow faster than the ecosystem can handle. These algal blooms can significantly reduce the amount of oxygen available to fish and other aquatic organisms. Algal blooms can also be harmful to humans because they can increase toxin levels and bacterial growth.
Q: How many farms are certified by Yahara Pride Farms?
A: There are currently eleven farms certified by Yahara Pride Farms. Learn more about the Certification Program by clicking here.