MOST CREATIVE IN BUSINESS IN 2020
Since taking over management of the family’s California dairy farm, in 1977, Albert Straus has used it as a force for change, becoming the first 100% certified organic, zero-waste, non-GMO creamery in North America, processing milk from about a dozen partner farms. Since 2004, the Straus Dairy Farm has been using bio “digesters” to convert methane produced from manure into biogas, which fuels an on-farm generator cranking out 350,000 kilowatt-hours of certified renewable electricity annually—enough for him to sell the excess back to the local utility. Last November, Straus entered into a first-of-its-kind agreement with carmaker BMW Group to supply cow-to-car electricity for BMW’s electric vehicles in California. The agreement helps BMW qualify for state carbon credits and pays farmers up to 10 times what they’d earn through regular power-purchase agreements with a public utility. (Any dairy farmer in the state can participate.) “Animals have an essential role in reversing climate change,” says Straus, who is pioneering a program on the farm to feed locally harvested red seaweed to cows.