Kansas farm extracts, reuses water from cow milk, saves on trucking costs too.


McCarty Family Farms in Kansas extracts substantial amount of water from processing cow milk, which is purified then used a drinking water for the cows and for irrigation. They now support more cows and processing while using less water. They also condense milk being shipped to Texas, which hugely reduces trucking costs.

The four dairies combined produces nearly 640,000 pounds of raw milk daily, which then flows into an advanced evaporative condensing milk processing plant located at the Rexford site. That plant reclaims and reuses roughly 50,000-60,000 gallons of freshwater daily—which over the course of a year can approach 20 million gallons, or about 61 acre-feet. This process separates the cream from the milk, and then the cream is pasteurized, stored, and shipped to a Daisy brand sour cream facility in Texas. The skim milk is condensed through evaporation, pasteurized, and shipped to a Dannon yogurt facility in Dallas, Texas. In the evaporative condensing milk processing plant, the water is either (1) filtered and purified and reused in the plant, (2) diverted to the dairy as drinking water for cows, or (3) dumped to lagoons where it is used as irrigation water for crops. The irrigation water can provide nearly 2 inches of irrigation on 1,200 acres.

Not only does reclaiming the water decrease their dependence on groundwater, it also reduces the number of trucks needed to ship their products to Texas. Their style of reclaiming the water and condensing the milk reduces their freight by an astonishing 75 percent. Lowering the number of trucks taking the 670-mile trip to Texas results in substantial diesel savings—while also reducing the McCarty Family Farm’s fossil fuel reliance and greenhouse gas emissions.

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