tv Earth Focus LINKTV July 18, 2021 11:00am-11:31am PDT
narrator: on this episode of "earth focus," climate change is forcing traditional dairy producers to look for more sustainable methods. in central california, farmers have found ways to reduce and even reuse methane gas, while in eastern africa, drought is creating a market for an unexpected source of milk.
different announcer: "earth focus" is made possible in part by a grant from anne ray foundation, a margaret a. cargill philanthropy; the orange county community foundation; and the farvue foundation. man: so this is a tradition here. we put cups in the freezer, best way to drink milk. [cows mooing] one thing i've learned about cows here, of which about 2,500 are milking and then you have a dry period, in a perfect world, 60 days. [cows mooing] she has a calf, and then she produces milk again for another year. [whistles] lot of our milk gets made into butter. and then some of our milk also goes to making mozzarella cheese. there's a
good chance you're tasting some of our milk every day. [engine starts] he likes--he likes driving papa around. i'm just--i'm teaching him for later when i'll actually need a driver. you're gonna go out the same way. go slow. you know, a few years ago, california adopted a regulation that really forced our industry to start looking at ways to mitigate the methane that comes off or out of the cow. you never want to get more regulations thrown on top of you. they're extremely hard to deal with, and sometimes you can't deal with them. everybody's kind of grappling. cows make manure every day and very consistently do. cow eats, you know, dry matter-wise, we're around 50 to
60 pounds a day. so, you know, all that goes in one end, makes a little bit of milk, and a lot of it comes out. i probably maybe underestimated what the potential is for methane going into the environment. you know, we could easily ignore stuff like this, but we're a generational family. we live on our farms. we want to take care of the water, we want to take care of the air 'cause we're trying to do something that is gonna be positive for my facility, for our industry, and for the environment. having said that, we have to stay economically viable or i'm not in business. reporter: governor jerry brown today signed a bill regulating emissions from dairy cows and landfills to fight climate
change beyond carbon-based greenhouse gases. now, the bill mandates a 40% reduction in methane and hydrofluoric carbon by 2030. lara: will reduce methane emissions 40%, reducing organic waste in landfills and working with our dairy industry to reduce emissions from cows and manure. man: when manure sits in a deep pond, a naturally-occurring bacteria that work in a cow's stomach, or actually in a cow's 4 stomachs, those same bacteria keep eating the left over little bits of sugar and other calories, and they emit biogas, which is a combination of methane and co2. both of those are greenhouse gases. and one cow tends to have about 4 to 5 tons per year of co2 equivalent. if you want to look at it that way, essentially it's about the same greenhouse gas footprint as a vehicle, as a car. we are a dairy digester development and operations company. a dairy digester is a piece of equipment that processes dairy manure and extracts methane gas, which is essentially a
naturally-occurring biogas that vents out of manure. a digester's just a device for capturing that gas so it doesn't vent into the air, but instead can be used usefully. and so if you capture it, you get a twofer. you get to prevent the gases from escaping into the environment and you have a usable fuel. so all we've done here is we've taken a normal-sized manure pond which has a whole bunch of liquid manure, we've covered it up with a flexible membrane so that there's no oxygen. and those little bacteria in there, they think they're still in a cow's stomach. that's why we call it a digester. they eat the remaining calories, they emit methane gas, which rises to the top, that we capture, preventing the greenhouse gases from escaping into the air, and being able to use that gas as a fuel for other uses now. shyler: we get biogas from nearby dairies. most recently we laid in a pipeline that will collect biogas from 11 or more local dairies, digesters at local dairies. and then we use it as it this production facility for fuel, or in some
cases, we turn that renewable natural gas into a fuel directly. manure is important to the dairies. they use the nutrient value. these are dairy farms. they really are. there's a symbiotic relationship. they grow a lot of their own food. the nutrients they get from manure are important for that. so this is a little bit like making lemonade out of lemons. in my view, it's better than that. it's kind of like making lemonade out of, i don't know, lemon waste. it's pretty cool. maas: joey arioso's a dairy producer, one of the first families, actually, to put in a dairy facility in this particular area of the county. and so we need the producers to make this work. we want as many healthy, stable producers around, and joey was the first one in this particular area. so we're building out to him and we're building to the neighbors as fast as we can. arioso: we use clean water to flush the calves. and then this
water will go out to our pond. we'll use it to flush the lanes and the milk cows. and then after we separate, it'll eventually come back into the digester. and then after that, we'll use it to irrigate with. so it's--everything around here--all the water on the farm is recycled 3 to 4 times. maas: when we approach a dairy, we explain to them their options. we come together with design, we oversee construction, and then we operate the facility. lyle and calgren renewable fuels are partnering this project. they've got the lead of the actual gas cleanup operations. so essentially, we deliver them the raw gas by working with the dairies, and they process the gas and get it into the pipeline on their plant. shyler: one of the options for using that biogas is to turn it into cng--compressed natural gas. maas: so our final end product is natural gas. it's biologically no different than natural gas that flows in the pipes to your house. it can be used for a variety of things, but we're going to use it for,
and what we are using it for, is vehicle fuel. arioso: it's really simple on the farm. we have a covered lagoon. we capture the gas from the cow. they dry it just a bit here, and then they push it to calgren, and then they do all the extra stuff, cleaning and everything that they need to do to make it where they can resell or reuse the gas on their own facility. so it just made a lot of sense. maas: the state of california has set a target that they want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the state, and it's particularly from the dairy industry. they want a 40% reduction by about the middle of the next decade. and it's a carrot and stick approach. they said to the dairy industry, "if you will voluntarily install these facilities and meet that goal, then that's great. if you don't, we'll probably regulate you." and so the dairy industry, working with our industry and others, have all found a way to make these projects profitable so the farmers can afford to put these in, can generate some revenue by doing it, and hopefully forestall some regulation as well.
arioso: short term, of course you've got to pay for the initial investment. but from our standpoint, we didn't have to put a lot of capital out. the main thing i was worried about was making sure that if i do this, the state will recognize that i've mitigated my methane problem on my farm. maas: a facility like this on the dairy farm runs in the neighborhood of a few million dollars, depending on the size of the dairy. the state of california had some funds available that have been very beneficial in getting more farmers to invest and reducing that capital cost. arioso: if there is a positive note to this regulation, ey are willing to help our industry mitigate it, you know, with some dollars and then, you know, some science that, you know, on technology as we've just put in to help mitigate the problem. it's not just the milk now. you know, i keep saying the milk because that's--every month when i sit down to pay my bills, you know, up till 3 months ago, it was only my milk check. now, you know, it's the gas. the cow's actually gonna create another
form of income, you know, really driven by amazing technology. maas: the amount of revenue a digester can create for a farmer depends on the financial arrangements. but in general, it can produce a 6-figure income to the farm. so he's generating new revenue without taking additional risk. and it makes it a lot easier when you go back to the state and ask to expand your dairy or ask to change your operations because you've shown that you're already progressive and you're already ahead of the curvin implementing environmental protections. arioso: you have to make sure you comply with the newer regulations, otherwise your farm becomes worthless. and so, my intent was to preserve the value of my farm. and even though we're 3 months into it, it looks pretty promising so far. maas: i think the main reason a dairy farmer wouldn't do this is if they aren't certain about the future of the dairy itself, which is really the question facing a lot of families is, can they continue to be competitive in california, in the modern economy. and that's hard to do. it takes scale, it takes efficiency. it takes a lot of things, investment in new
technology. many farms would like to keep milking cows as long as they could, but not every family can. arioso: a cow is really an unbelievable creature. i mean, they consume tremendous amounts of byproducts that would be waste products, you know. they're able to convert that into milk and beef and now gas. maas: this is easily the largest dairy biogas project in the united states. 3-4 million gallons of fuel a year is what we think we'll produce, and we'll go up from there. so this digester, in terms of greenhouse gas impacts, would have the same impact as removing over 3,000 cars from the road. this is what we hope is the newest growth of the industry to try to produce more and more gas from america's dairies. arioso: this gives us a way to tell our story and, you know, add to the story. you know, we've had kind of the same story for a long time, and we can
prote the environment, but also, you know, kind of continue down this path of energy independence, the next technology that can make, you know, our farms more efficient and more environmentally protective. shyler: i think that dairies in california have gone through ups and downs. mostly recently it's been tough times for them. marns haven't been there. this is an opportunity for them to kind of expand a little bit. in a way, they are entering the energy business, which is kind of cool. arioso: i'm pretty blessed. i mean, we have 4 generations on the farm. my dad is still here. he just turned 80. you know, and my grandson won't really appreciate this until later. having said that, i want the next generation to know the potential is unlimited on what you can do with what you're doing. you know, don't ever get short sighted and think that,
you know, all's he can do is get milk out of a cow. this is gonna be another way of making her more efficient, and it's pretty amazing. narrator: californian's concerned about climate change are searching for ways to reduce methane that stem from the state's more than 5.2 million cows. by contrast, east african farmers facing historic drought are turning to a traditional alternative to quench their thirst.
warsame: i live in the u.s., in the state of georgia for the last 20 years. and i was a real estate attorney, so i can sell ice to an eskimo. camel milk is the next generation dairy. that's what i believe. most of the people are going healthy at the moment. and they believe that, you know, camel milk is medicinal. as a result of that, a lot of rich people or middle upper class are drinking it. and mostly they're being prescribed by their doctors. we are working with universities and also research centers. they come here every 3 months. they come and check samples of milk. and now we are working with the
allergy doctors in lactose intolerance. those one, they are responding very positively. we haven't exported yet, but i will be very glad if i see my product on any supermarket on the shelf. that way i will know that i made it. [horn honks] man: from an early age, i was very interested in the deserts. during the teenage years, i used to spend a lot of time in northern kenya. and then i ended up doing 7 years' research on camel milk production. there's quite a long history with camels in the family. yeah, long may it last.
the body of research is now beginning to show the benefits of drinking camel's milk. we've also done some work here in kenya looking at diabetics. although we couldn't prove it statistically, it was definitely an improvement in blood sugar control. and that's another thing with camel's milk, it has a very high vitamin "c" content. so for societies who don't normally eat fruit or vegetables, that's where they've been getting their vitamin "c" sources and have been perfectly healthy all this time. on the other side, some of the benefits you might have heard is that it has a slimming effect, that it has good effect on cholesterol and obesity. and so you may find that it could actually so benef nutrition issues in the western world. because of this long history of the benefits of drinking camel's milk, we're seeing more and more urban people taking an interest in buying camel's milk.
man: we're in nairobi cbd, actually, the central business district, at a somali restaurant. you ask for tea, they'll just bring you a camel tea without even asking. man: we have so many rather different types of products being taken out of this milk, camel milk. for example, we've got yogurt, we've got the carmel latte, which is loved specifically by the somalis. ahmed: it helps with my digestion. and, you know, i feel energized. and you can actually feel it instantly. when you drink, that day you'll actually feel it, like it's a detox. simpkin: with the human population growth globally, the world has been more intensification in terms of producing food for humans. we all know the impa of livestock in terms of being blamed for global warming. in some countries, there's gonna be less rainfall or higher variability
in the rainfall. and the camel is going to be one of the best adapted animals to deal with that. so really they are an animal of the future. announcer: "earth focus" is made possible in part by a grant from anne ray foundation, a margaret a. cargill philanthropy; the orange county community foundation; and the farvue foundation. r■ç■ç■
cordero-lamb: i think there really is something to using the medicines that your ancestors have been using for a really long time. i think our bodies remember a lot, not just trauma. i think our bodies remember medicine. i think our bodies remember knowledge. i think they remember places. >> one of the most dangerous aspects of the new drug addiction is that the drugs abused are legally sanctioned, mass-produced, and available everywhere. cordero-lamb: that whole idea--"if it's more expensive, it's better"-- that is really something that we've brought into our whole mindset as western consumers. you spend more ney on it, surely it will work better, a if you take twice as much of it, it'll work even better, so we've got this "bigger, better, faster" mindset going. then you look at