"Business diversity. Instead of just milking cows, we have some other opportunities out there," said Don Jensen II, co-owner of Lawnhurst Farms.
Other opportunities that came in the creation of a digester.
"We have been studying this thing for over three years," said Jensen.
Since 2007, the Jensen Family, owners of Lawnhurst Farms in Stanley, had been looking for a way to build a digester. The family flew to Germany and worked with a company called EnviTec Biogas, who helped them create and make their idea a reality.
"We have built over 600 plants around the world, mostly in Europe," said EnviTec Biogas' Roel Slotman.
This is the companies first digester in the United States and just recently, EnviTec Biogas opened EnviTec Biogas USA Inc. in Rochester. The company hopes to expand throughout the country.
Jensen said the idea for the project started with his son. He said since they have so many cows, there must be something they can do with their manure.
"We have this huge resource here and that's the manure. Let's create energy with it," said Don Jensen III.
The machine works entirely off of manure and is able to produce enough electricity to power 420 households per year. Members of the farm say whatever excess energy the digester creates will be sold to the local utility company, but Jensen says this $3 million project does much more than just create electricity.
"We're getting hot water. It's supplying all the hot water we need for the dairy and heating of the barn as well as, we have a product that comes off the digester that we use for bedding," said Don Jensen II.
Deputy secretary for Food and Agriculture Patrick Hooker says he hopes this idea expands to other farms in the area. He says the digester at this farm is not only run by manure but also by material left at the end of making yogurt. He says by doing this it helps both the farm industry and yogurt industry.
"When you build a digester, when you run it on manure, sure you get electricity but when you add a food waste, the yield and amount of electricity you get is much much higher," said Hooker.
Jensen did not receive any money for this project, but Hooker hopes this idea expands so that grants could be available for farms in the future.
"Now that it's actually going, it definitely gives you a good feeling," said Jensen III.