Werkhoven Dairy, Inc.: 2012 Elanco Award for Outstanding Dairy
Unlikely partnerships achieving common goals
In an area threatened by urban sprawl and endangered salmon runs, three groups — farmers, Native American tribes and environmentalists — have worked together toward a common good, rather than focus on any differences they might have.
Ten years ago, Werkhoven Dairy in Monroe, Wash., assumed a leadership role in developing a collaborative partnership between the farm and the neighboring dairy and beef producers of the Sno/Sky Ag Alliance; the Northwest Chinook Recovery (an organization working to restore salmon habitat); and the 3,500-member Native American Tulalip Tribes. Together, they focused on opportunities for resource conservation and formed Qualco Energy.
Qualco — which means “where two rivers come together” in the region's native language — is a nonprofit entity that collects manure from the cows and preconsumer food waste from nearby companies, and Qualco uses those materials to generate energy through a digester system. The system produces enough energy each day to power 300 homes while keeping the air and water clean, protecting salmon streams and creating Grade A compost for the Werkhovens to naturally fertilize their fields and share with their neighbors.
The organizations are working toward additional conservation efforts with a collective goal of investing profit from the digester in new renewable energy and recycling projects, fish and wildlife habitat restoration and sustainable farming practices.
A Visit to Werkhoven Dairy, Inc.
During a recent visit to Werhoven Dairy, Jim and Andy Werkhoven shared how their unique partnerships are yielding benefits for the community and the environment.