Smart practices that reduce our foot print.

Recycling is an important part of Threemile Canyon Farms' success. By combining our potato farming with a large dairy, we have created a balanced, closed-loop system that emphasizes sustainable practices.

Our recycling story is simple: We use the leftovers - peels and culls - from the off-site processing of our potato and onion crops as feed for our dairy cows. Then we use the manure the dairy herd produces to make fertilizer and compost to enrich and improve our fields. Along the way, our farm has accomplished even more:

  • We have significantly reduced the use of crop protectants on our conventional crops by using manure as a natural fertilizer.
  • We have increased our certified organic acreage from approximately 270 acres in 2002 to 5,200 acres in 2011, making us one of the region's largest growers of organic vegetables and other crops.
  • We make extensive use of dairy compost on fields to improve soil properties, resulting in healthier plants and reducing the need for crop protectants.
  • We recycle or reuse our agricultural water.
  • We meet a zero-discharge requirement, which means that no dairy waste enters streams or groundwater sources.
  • We meet and exceed the standards state agencies place on farming, composting and dairy operations.

Methane-based green fuel

From the beginning, Threemile Canyon Farms has been designed around sustainable practices such as recycling, reducing water use, protecting endangered species and organic farming. The farm#s new methane digester is the latest addition to our long standing sustainable farming tradition.

Our on-site methane digester receives wastes from the dairy's flushing systems.

Our on-site methane digester receives wastes from the dairy's flushing systems.

Threemile Canyon Farms is partnering with NW Natural and Bonneville Environmental Foundation on an innovative methane digester pilot project to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by converting dairy waste into fuel. Harnessing the methane gas from the manure and using the fuel at our dairy is a key goal of our sustainable farming ethic. We anticipate that our work will provide other farms with a more cost effective demonstration of dairy waste recycling.

Our methane digester, designed by JUB Engineers, also provides a unique opportunity for Oregon agricultural businesses to work together to limit overall environmental impacts. For example, Oregon wineries have invested in the digester through Bonneville Environmental Foundation, demonstrating their leadership in carbon reduction, carbon offsetand sustainable business practices.

Digester At-a-Glance

Pilot Project Goals:

  • Produce methane gas from manure
  • Provide renewable energy source to heat water at dairy
  • Use manure from 1,200 to 1,500 cows
  • Process manure in half the time of traditional digesters
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Prove feasibility of digester design
  • Createknowledge base that helps other dairies develop cost effective digester solutions


  • Underground inverted pyramid shape
  • Digester cover is 2,000 sq yards and basin is 29 feet deep
  • Expandable, innovative modular design
  • Filled with 31,000 recycled tires


Pilot Project Construction Cost:

  • $1.2 million

'The digester is the most recent example of our work to continuously improve our sustainable agricultural practices. Partnering with other responsible companies, we keep searching for solutions that work for us to improve the environment and create new knowledge that we can share with others. The results we seek at Threemile Canyon Farms will make our products better for our customers and our neighbors.'