The little engine that could: Barstow’s Longview Farm

Country Folks Magazine, by Laura Rodley

Cows have always been considered unusual due to their unique style of digestion: their stomach has four chambers. Now Barstow’s Longview Farm in Hadley, MA will be known for having a unique stomach of its own — a BGreen Energy’s Anaerobic Digester that converts manure and food scraps into fertilizer and enough electricity to power the entire farm, plus surrounding houses. The key word is sustainable.

Septimus Barstow started the farm in 1806. It is now managed by 6th generation David Barstow and his brother Steven, with 7th generation Steven Barstow II poised to take over. They raise 450 Holsteins, farm 400 acres and employ six people. Fifteen more people work at Barstow’s Dairy Store and Bakery.

Four hundred and fifty people were invited to witness newly instated Secretary of Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Maeve Vallely Bartlett cut the ribbon, celebrating this “zero waste” system that cost “just north of 3 million dollars,” including $108,000 worth of new wiring to channel power in and out of the farm.

Massachusetts’ first digester project — established at Jordan Farm in Rutland — and this one were funded in part by an investor, Boston resident William Jorgensen, owner of BGreen Energy. In food services all his life, he developed the digester after observing them utilized in Europe with technologies honed over the past half century. As utility costs rise here, the “economics make sense.”

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