DairyBusiness – Jan 29, 2021
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Before Florida dairy farmer Louis “Red” Larson passed away at the age of 96 last July, his family compiled a book called “Papa Red Said.” It was a tribute to one of the dairy industry’s true pioneers and contained many of his sayings that provided inspiration to his sons, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

One of those sayings was, “Do the right thing.”

Larson was involved with Brightmark Energy on a partnership project that would generate renewable natural gas from the construction and operation of four anaerobic digesters on the family’s dairies in Okeechobee County.

Though Larson died before he could see the project conclude, his presence very much was felt during a groundbreaking ceremony in November. One of his grandsons, Jacob Larson, recalled his grandfather’s impact on the partnership and how his simple but meaningful quote impacted their decision to move forward with such a large-scale project.

“You can bring that quote into any scenario, any setting in life and part of it is just our Christian moral fiber but we know to do the right thing,” Jacob Larson said. “The Larson family feels this is the right thing. It’s the right thing for the future, it’s the right thing for sustainability.”

Brightmark CEO Bob Powell also said Red Larson’s impact is felt as the project continues to evolve.

“He certainly is here in spirit and we feel his leadership as I know many dairy farmers do across the country,” Powell said.

The project will annually convert 230,000 tons of manure from 9,900 cows into renewable natural gas. The digesters are anticipated to generate about 171,000 MMBtu of renewable natural gas that will be delivered into the local interstate gas pipeline system. Many businesses depend on natural gas for cooking, steam production, water heating, power generation and other uses. Brightmark will develop, own and operate the project, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

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