Cows will be healthier and waste runoff will be reduced on Doug Kenyon’s Waitsfield farm, said Scott Kingsbury of Kingsbury Construction.
The Waitsfield-based construction company is installing a system that will filter cattle waste into a centralized pond via plastic tubing. An 80-by-100-foot container – layers of stone, hardwood chips and waterproof fabric – is being constructed underground, so that waste does not leach into waterways.
In the spring or late summer of next year, Kenyon will spread this waste on his fields, Kingsbury said, adding that the practice is common in Europe but the first of its kind in Vermont.
The Kenyons have about 200 beef cattle at their farm.
Kenyon received a grant from the University of Vermont and the Vermont Department of Agriculture for construction and Kingsbury called it a “big investment.” He said, “Maybe other farms in Vermont will see it and it will be a growing practice. Farmers are becoming aware of the issues with runoff.”
He also said that Kenyon’s cows’ waste will be filtered away from where they sit and stand. The grant is part of the Vermont 2015 Clean Water Act, which seeks to improve agricultural waste management practices to improve the state’s waterways.