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Rockfort farmers using technology to protect environment

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

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Two farmers in Rockfort, St Andrew, have invested in a wastewater treatment facility that they say will protect the environment.

Dale Muir and Ricardo Wellington revealed that instead of disposing of manure from pigs on their Rocksprings farm, their state-of-the-art bio-digester captures the waste and produces methane which provides a source of energy used to power a generator to meet on-farm electricity demands. In addition, the manure is converted into organic fertiliser.

“We got the bio-digester in 2016, as we looked at the impact of farming on the environment and recognised that we [can] protect the environment with our practices instead of harming it,” explained Wellington.

After envisioning expansion for their small farm, Muir and Wellington approached petroleum marketing company RUBiS Energy Jamaica regarding an agreement to acquire land close to their farm to facilitate the construction of the bio-digester.

According to Wellington, there are numerous opportunities to increase financial returns as a result of their investment in the bio-digester.

“By using the waste we are able to optimise every aspect of the produce on our farm and spend less on disposal of manure; as well as the chance to sell the methane, use it as cooking gas for schools and potentially businesses in the community,” he explained.

Both men said that having realised their vision of acquiring the bio-digester, they intend to fulfil their bigger dream of operating a fully “green” farm.

“It is now a lifestyle, and as we continue to work on getting better produce, using less pesticide and other harmful products, we are looking to ensure our animals will shortly be grass-fed, as we want to rear animals that are fed as organic as possible,” declared Muir.

The construction of greenhouses on the property is also being explored by the farmers, who have been partners for two years.

Muir challenged other farmers to identify ways in which they can mitigate the negative potential impact that agricultural practices can have on the environment.

“It can be costly to invest in the new technology but I encourage persons in the industry to follow suit because we need the earth to hold up for our children and their children, so they have to play their part,” he said.

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