You’ve heard of offshore drilling platforms and offshore wind farms. Now a Dutch company is developing what’s being called the world’s first offshore dairy farm. Plans call for the high-tech, multilevel facility to open this fall in Rotterdam, a port city about 50 miles southwest of Amsterdam.
The floating farm will produce milk and yogurt near Rotterdam’s center, taking advantage of unused space while helping curb the expense and pollution associated with transporting food products from distant farms to local grocery stores.
“Seventy percent of the face of the Earth is water, while the world population is growing and arable land is limited so we have to look in other ways to produce fresh food next to the citizens, to reduce transport,” said Minke van Wingerden, a partner in the Rotterdam-based property development firm Beladon and the leader of the project. “It’s a logical step to produce fresh food on the water. Most big cities are situated in [river] deltas, and it’s easy to use the deltas for food production.”
She said the floating farm concept could be adopted by other port cities, with farms producing poultry and fruit as well as dairy products.
The first of up to 40 Meuse-Rhine-Issel cows, which are known for long lives and robust health, will come on board in November, van Wingerden said. By December, the farm — built on a floating concrete platform near the mouth of the New Meuse River — should be producing more than 200 gallons of milk and yogurt a day. The animals’ manure will be collected by poop-scooping robots and sold as fertilizer.
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