By Jessica Wolfrom
When it comes to climate change, cows have taken a reputational hit. These belching bovines have been villainized for releasing methane, a greenhouse gas with more than 25 times the heat-trapping power of carbon dioxide.
But now, a growing number of Bay Area farmers are working to repolish the image of the humble dairy cow, recasting their role from gaseous emitters to carbon-capturing machines and powering farmers’ ability to fight the impacts of climate change.
Chief among them is Albert Straus, founder and owner of Straus Family Creamery and Dairy in Marshall, an unincorporated town on the northeast shore of Tomales Bay. One of the first in the nation to take his farm organic in the early ’90s, Straus has garnered attention for feeding his cows seaweed, which cut down their methane output by more than 80%, according to research from UC Davis.