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Is this the future of farming? Indoor farm offers promising solutions

Posted at 2:22 PM, Dec 21, 2020

MOSIDA, Utah – Not too far south of Salt Lake City, you will find the Bateman Dairy Farm. It’s a farm where the cattle have quite the view. The Wasatch Mountain Range rises up across Utah Lake.

“The right way to take care of cows is to make them happy and comfortable,” said Brad Bateman.

Bateman has worked the farm since he was a small boy alongside his family.

“There was no hanging out or having fun here; it was all work,” he said with a chuckle. “Our family developed the farm ground and broke a lot of this ground out of sagebrush.”

Today, there are more than 20,000 head of dairy cows and feeding them can be a tall order.

However, sometimes life can present a unique opportunity for growth.

“We want to welcome you to the first-ever controlled environment indoor farm for animal feed,” said Steve Lindsley, president of Grov Technologies.

Call it a marriage between farming and technology, with an eco-friendlier “hoof print.”

“We call the machine, Olympus, Lindsley said, pointing to the large tower stretching nearly to the roof of the building.

“Each of these machines will replace 35 to 50 acres of land.”

Lindsley said to grow the cow feed indoors with Olympus only takes five percent of the water of traditional farming.

“The seeds are planted on a tray, and within about five to six days, we come out with a beautiful harvest,” Lindsley said.

Lindsley’s background is in tech but he envisions towers like Olympus helping anywhere rainwater is scarce.

“There are so many challenges with water,” Lindsley explained. “You just think about the West, you think about California, the panhandle of Texas. There are so many places that could benefit from this technology.”

For the Bateman farm, this year the weather wasn’t so much of an issue, it was COVID-19. The virus disrupted supply lines all over the world and put farms like the Batemans in danger of running out of feed.

“We just couldn’t get into places to get the animal feed,” Bateman explained. “Places like Washington state, they wouldn’t even let our trucks in.”

Bateman said the timing of the partnership couldn’t have been better.

“The cows love this stuff,” he said with a smile. “This is like cow candy for them.”

Now, Bateman sleeps a bit better at night knowing his cows will get fed regardless of the weather or a worldwide pandemic.

“This whole thing has really brought home the importance of having a fresh, local supply of feed,” Bateman said. “This is a really big thing for us and feeling secure about our future.”