Dairy Helping the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Mt. Vernon, WA, April 19, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- You know spring has arrived when it’s time for the  Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. It’s an opportunity to take in the expansive views of color and multiple varieties of blooming tulip fields.

One vital element to keeping the tulips beautiful and helping them last? Manure. Harmony Dairy, located west of Mt. Vernon, sits right next to the festival. Owned and run by third generation dairy farmers and brothers Jason and Eric Vander Kooy, they work closely with the festival owners providing two commodities, soil and manure. For the next four to six years the farmers will cover the area of land previously inhabited by the tulips and plant grass, clover, alfalfa, or corn to provide food for their nearly 2,000 cows. Rotating crops gives the soil a rest and a chance to rebuild its nutrients and provides a method to ensure the tulip bulbs stay healthy and strong year after year.

“As a kid, I remember manure from cows was a problem. Nowadays, dairy farmers see it as an asset.”, said Jason Vander Kooy. Cow manure from the dairy along with many waste products from other businesses in the community are put into an anaerobic digester and in the absence of oxygen, methane is captured, producing biogas which generates enough electricity to power around 700 homes. The resulting digestate is used as a natural and nutrient-rich fertilizer that improves the health of the soil and reduces the need for synthetic fertilizers. This system using manure to generate electricity and fertilize the fields is a great example of how a regenerative approach to agriculture is benefiting the farm, the tulips, and the environment.

So, when you make your way to Skagit Valley this year, hopefully you see the tulips in a new light. Maybe you’ll see the variety of crops being grown that highlight the importance of sustainable agriculture in our region and its part in creating a more resilient future for everyone to enjoy.





Dairy Farmer Jason Vander Kooy