Brubaker Farms has been developing and implementing sustainability programs to sustain their farming operations and at the same time demonstrate to others that sustainability programs can prove beneficial to the industry.
The areas that they are involved in include but are not limited to the following:
- Conservation Tillage
- Nutrient and Waste Management
- Energy Efficiency
- Runoff Management and Stream Protection
Their philosophies and sustainability approaches can be applied to other industrial programs.
An example of this takes place at Brubaker Farms. They use a digester system designed to accommodate wastes from 1,000 cows and have excess capacity for landfill-diverted food waste. The farm is now accepting a variety of food waste, including cafeteria waste from nearby Elizabethtown College.
Both pre-consumer and post-consumer food waste from the college dining halls is piped into a pulping system in the building where food waste is broken down and water is separated from the waste. The water is recycled back into the pulping system and wastes are pumped into a heated truck, which can hold up to 1,200 pounds of pulped organic waste. The waste is transported to Brubaker Farms twice a week where it is added to a cow-manure digester.
While many colleges and universities use a pulping system for their waste, the difference between those systems and Elizabethtown’s is that other colleges dump the pulp waste down the sanitary sewer and continually need to add fresh water. Elizabethtown’s pulping system recycles the wastewater, thereby reducing the need for fresh water.
Food waste is fed into a digester at Brubaker Farms and mixed with manure at a temperature of 100 degrees (F). The resulting methane gas powers approximately 199 kilowatts an hour, enough to power about 200 homes.