A multi-generational, family-owned dairy farm, shows that from local distribution of its products to turning methane into power at their new biodigester that they continue being an innovative leader in sustainability for 50 years.
Jock and Buzz Gibson are the managers of Lochmead Farm, a fourth-generation family-owned dairy farm in central Oregon. For the past 50 years, the dairy has demonstrated wisdom in thinking local and reducing their carbon footprint in a traditionally greenhouse gas emission-heavy industry.
Leading by Example. The depth of their commitment, further developed by Jock’s daughter Stephanie and her cousins, is shown by the long list of forward-thinking business decisions they have made to reduce their impact. These include:
- Installing solar panels on the processing plant and several DariMart locations;
- Locating their bottling and ice cream plants close to the dairy to reduce travel distance and therefore travel costs and emissions;
- Harvesting 80% of the feed for their 600 cows on the farm;
- Growing peppermint and hazelnuts on site to flavor the ice cream; and
- Selling 25% of their milk in reusable glass bottles.
Thinking Local. To protect their investment and values, the Gibson’s opened up five original retail locations, now a chain of 44 DariMart stores, to market their milk, ice cream and other products. When considering the dairy, stores and other operations, the farm has created over 500 local jobs, a significant economic impact in the area.
The Greenhouse Gas Math. Most recently, the farm has also partnered with Revolution Energy Solutions to install and run an anaerobic digester at the dairy, a $2.2 million project that began operations in November 2011. The digester uses the methane released from dairy manure to run a turbine that creates electricity. The project pencils out by selling the electricity and through carbon funding -- a voluntary carbon offset surcharge paid by customers of Northwest Natural, the gas utility. The facility is estimated to reduce green house gas emissions equivalent to removing 700 cars from the road for a year. The low temperature digester, the first of it’s kind at a dairy facility, has paved the way for a clean energy revolution in the industry.
- Stephanie Gibson-Hawkes, General Manager
- Jock Gibson, President and Managing Partner of the Dairy and DariMart Stores
- Buzz Gibson, Dairy Operations Manager
Energy Trust of Oregon is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping utility customers benefit from saving energy and generating renewable energy.
RES is focused on the production of renewable energy through projects that operate proven energy technologies utilizing a farm or agricultural platform throughout the U.S..