Sun Prairie family makes major manure digester investment

Posted on February 9, 2009. Filed under: Biomass, Digesters |


From an article by John Oncken in The Capital Times:

According to Focus on Energy, there were 17 operating anaerobic digester systems on Wisconsin dairy farms as of June. As of about a week ago, there were 18, with the start up of the system at Statz Brothers Dairy Farm just east of Sun Prairie.

The Statz family — with brothers Don (Shirley) and Richard (Veronica), Don’s son Joe and Richard’s sons Troy and Wesley — milks some 2,000 cows at three locations.

Don and Rich moved to this farm in 1951 with their parents and bought the farm in 1966. “I had a total of $100, and Don had the same,” Rich says. “But we had people who knew us and trusted us.”

Over the years, the farm has grown to some 5,000 acres of cropland that supports a variety of crops for the canning industry and the family’s dairy cattle. In addition, they do some custom farm work for neighbors. A milking parlor was built in 1979, and today a series of freestall barns hold the 1,250 cows that are milked in a double 16 parlor at the home farm. In addition, 450 and 300 cows are milked at two other farms nearby.

About five years ago, the Statz family began looking at new manure handling systems including anaerobic digesters. They visited working digesters and talked to experts across the country. “We saw the future and wanted to get along with our Sun Prairie neighbors and make better use of our manure,” Rich Statz says.

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