Emily Gaylord April 28, 2017
In the face of a changing dairy market, Barstow’s Longview Dairy Farm in Hadley, MA capitalized on another product from their cows: manure. Manure Manager reports that Vanguard Renewables invested in the construction of an anaerobic digester that allows the farm to repurpose the manure as both fuel and fertilizer while reducing business operation costs.
Anaerobic digestion is a process by which microorganisms break down organic materials in an oxygen-free environment. Besides diverting organic waste from landfills, the 600,000 gallon capacity digester produces heat and electricity, creates a nutrient-rich fertilizer, provides cost savings from waste disposal, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel use. In addition to manure from the farm’s dairy, about 14,000 tons of food scraps and byproducts are also fed into the digester each year. This food waste comes from businesses in the area, such as Cabot Cooperative Creamery’s facility in West Springfield. Casella Organics manages day to day operations of the digester.