With the sun shining and the scent of alfalfa drifting through the air, members of National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) and National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) stood outside the barns of Kalispell Kreamery on the Hedstrom Dairy. Our tour guide, Mary, smiled and posed the question, “dairy cows produce two things – milk and…?” While contemplating the amount of manure produced on a dairy farm isn’t the most pleasant of ideas, what they’re doing with it is.
Turning the manure into high-quality fertilizer is just one of the many examples of how Kalispell Kreamery is implementing conservation practices within their business model. Other examples include reducing their carbon footprint by piping the milk directly from the milking barn to the attached bottling facility, rather than trucking it off-site; using locally sourced sand as a bedding material; and supplementing the cows’ feed with the excess whey created during production. And most excitingly, they’re even taking steps to, hopefully, begin bottling milk in reusable, glass bottles – which would be a boon to our current plastic recycling woes. From humble beginnings to an iconic brand, Kalispell Kreamery is setting an example for how business owners in the Flathead Valley can incorporate conservation values into their businesses.