About DES

The Cornell PRO-DAIRY Dairy Environmental Systems (DES) program, works closely with members of our multidisciplinary team along with select New York State, U.S., and international dairy industry leaders to identify, develop, document, and introduce and disseminate innovative methods in dairy housing and waste management systems targeted to enhance animal performance, animal well-being, system efficiency, environmental compliance, and overall farm profitability. These efforts are accomplished with the overall vision of furthering individual farm and industry-wide growth and sustainability.

Program efforts are accomplished by conducting industry-applied research with the objective of furthering the understanding and development of dairy housing and waste management systems (with the current focus on anaerobic digestion) and by monitoring relative research and extension work performed by nation-wide and international counterparts. Findings are disseminated by conducting on-farm training and demonstrations of new technologies and by developing and delivering written, oral, and web-based materials. Additionally, expertise is provided through educational programs offered by county and regional Cornell Cooperative Extension employees and agriservice and agribusiness entities.

Overall, program initiatives have resulted in dairy producers and their advisors being better positioned to make informed business decisions in the areas of cow comfort/well-being, renewable energy, waste (nutrient) management/treatment, air emissions, and farm safety. Impact indicators are testimonials from dairy producers and their advisors and observed changes in business behavior.

Our Team

    Jason Oliver headshot
    Jason Oliver

    Senior Extension Associate

    PRO-DAIRY

    Jason Oliver
    • jpo53 [at] cornell.edu
    profile photo of lauren ray
    Lauren Ray

    Agricultural Sustainability and Energy Engineer

    PRO-DAIRY

    Lauren Ray
    profile photo of peter wright
    Peter Wright

    Agricultural Engineer

    PRO-DAIRY

    Peter Wright
    Angela George
    Angela George

    Dairy Environmental Specialist

    PRO-DAIRY

    Animal Science

    Angela George
    • ag2292 [at] cornell.edu

    Current Projects

    • 06/01/2018 – 05/31/2022
    • Sponsored by USDA-NIFA - subcontractor to the University of Maryland

    • 10/1/2019 – 09/30/2022

    • Sponsored by USDA-NIFA via Cornell CALS Hatch and Smith Lever Funds

    The DES Team will work to educate dairy farms with anaerobic digestion (AD),those farms with the potential for AD, and those farms considering brewers residuals as cattle feed on the advantages and disadvantages of participation in food recycling for dairy cow nutrition, energy and crop nutrient recovery. The DES team has a long-term and continuing relationship with most dairy farms with AD (and those who are candidate farms) and
    extensive knowledge of their operations. Workshops and webinars will be held to provide guidance in the potential for participation. A list of those farms with an AD willing to participate will be provided. Additional information will be prepared to inform those farms that now have the potential for AD

    Cornell PRO-DAIRY is part of a project funded by the Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment (RAPID) Manufacturing Institute, to evaluate the economic and technical feasibility of a system using biorefineries in NY State, combining anaerobic digestion (AD), hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL), and a Biomethanation Power to Grid (P2G) systems to process agricultural and food wastes. This becomes important with the newly passed food scraps donation and upcycling bill in NYS that requires producers that generate more than two tons of food waste per week to divert its wastes from being landfilled if they are within 25 miles of appropriate waste handling facilities.

    Cornell University PRO-DAIRY has a grant to optimize biogas production to help move anaerobic digestion forward in NYS. The Institute of Gas Innovation and Technology (IGIT) located at Stony Brook University will also work to develop a market for RNG to develop complementary results. We will evaluate the value and extent of new monetization opportunities and their impact on the economic viability and sustainability of digester systems by identifying, exploring, and differentiating alternative strategies to take advantage of the newly monetized and emerging values.