Threemile Celebrates Earth Day
| Posted in: Land Sustainability & Stewardship
Every year on April 22, Earth Day is celebrated, marking the anniversary of the modern environmental movement. Across 190 countries, more than 1 billion people mobilize to take action on this day.
As farmers, we like to treat every day like it is Earth Day.
Since the start of Threemile Canyon Farms in 1998, we have been committed to farming sustainability and questioning long-standing agricultural practices to better our operations, every day.
We are proud of the commitments we have made, and for our dedication to continuously improving our operation.
Conservation: In 2002, 23,000 acres (approximately 25%) of the farm was dedicated to a voluntary nature conservation. Four threatened species and Columbia Basin grassland have remained off the federal endangered species list due in part to the agreement.
Renewable Energy: Our methane digester sequesters around 136,000 metric tons per year of CO2. This is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 28,875 passenger vehicles, CO2 emissions from 16,285 homes’ energy consumption, or carbon sequestration by 160,061 acres of forest land.
Water Management: Our irrigation pipes are equipped with flow meters to register exactly how much water we are using on a second-to-second basis, allowing us to meet exacting standards on our Columbia River water use. We have sophisticated automated pumping controls which optimize energy used to apply water, saving approximately 666,000 kilowatt hours annually.
Standards: We are a zero-discharge farm, meaning no dairy waste enters groundwater or streams. Our barns are designed to protect ground and surface water resources. We meet or exceed the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) program standards.
Animal Welfare: We have a three-pronged animal welfare program:
- Threemile Animal Welfare Committee,
- An Independent Animal Welfare Advocate, and
- A yearly audit from Validus, an internationally recognized outside and independent animal welfare auditor.
We have zero tolerance for animal mistreatment, ensuring a low stress life for our herd.
Green Farming: Since 2002, we have increased our certified organic acres from 270 to more than 15,000 acres. We apply manure from the digester to our organic and conventional feeds for nutrients. Our farm uses strip tilling practices with GPS equipment to prevent topsoil erosion and minimize fuel usage. Using GPS, we synchronize the strip tillage and spring planting so the areas between tillage are undisturbed. This helps decrease topsoil erosion and wind damage to our corn crop.
On this Earth Day, we honor the work of everyone protecting our natural resources and at Threemile, we remain committed to sustainable farming for today and the future.