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Technology Helps Protect Environment on B.C. Farm


On the Seabreeze dairy farm in Delta, B.C., nothing goes to waste, including manure and the methane gas that forms as it breaks down. It is biogas technology that makes the farm more sustainable and ecologically sensitive.

Jerry and Sonya Keulen operate the farm along with their sons Brian and Kevin.

Biogas is produced by the fermentation of organic matter. “It’s simply a matter of bugs eating organics,” said Jerry, as he stands in front of two huge black domes, collectively referred to as “the Digester.” Inside, microbes produce methane gas, which is piped off, purified, and sold to a utilities company. Nutrients are removed from the solids to be sold as fertilizer. The remaining solids are sterilized at a high heat and used as bedding for the cows. The liquid runoff is sprayed onto the fields as fertilizer.

Seabreeze Farm not only provides its own material in the form of manure; tons of organic waste are also brought in from Metro Vancouver. 

The technology is still very new, and equipment troubles are the biggest drawback to the system. But Jerry maintains that the benefits are still far greater, both for the environment and for the farm itself. “We feed the cows, they produce manure, which in turn creates enough biogas for 1,000 homes every year. We use all the byproducts so nothing is wasted in the cycle.” Furthermore, they have cleared the way for future generations to practice sustainable farming methods.

Keulen’s parents farmed in their native Holland before emigrating to Canada in 1951. Jerry followed in their footsteps by starting Seabreeze in 1981.

Jerry and Sonya are long-time members of Ladner Christian Reformed Church, and their faith determines how they run the business. “It affects how I work with my employees,” Jerry said, “and how we treat the environment. We work so closely with nature, and it is really all in God’s hands. We rely on God’s blessing to have any livelihood at all.” 

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