Green Mountain Dairy of Sheldon, VT is a large farm operating under a LFO permit. In 1999, the two brothers who owned various small farms throughout the state decided to consolidate them into one farm.The dairy currently has 900 lactating Holsteins and 150 dry cows on site. The farm’s cropland consists of approximately 1500 tillable acres in four towns: Sheldon, Highgate, Swanton, and St. Albans.
Increased environmental awareness and regulatory attention to manure disposal led Green Mountain Dairy to look into implementing an anaerobic digester onsite. In 2006, they had a mixed plug flow digester built, which became operational in 2007. Ever since, the farm has produced enough biogas to generate at least 300 kWh per hour of electricity, where they have experienced no variations with the seasons in terms of energy output. Throughout 12 months of operation, the farm produces 2,000,000 kWh of electricity to the grid, enough to power 400 average-sized homes. They are using Ben and Jerry’s ice cream waste as a feedstock into the digester, which saves them from using lots of their own water to move the manure through the digester. The farm makes additional profit from selling 30 yards/wk of bedding to another farm nearby.
Farm tours are also a big part of the day-to-day at Green Mountain Dairy. Over the past 6 years, they have received over 18,000 visitors from 25 countries. In 2008, they were voted Vermont’s Dairy Farm of the Year.
IFES Number: 75
Type of Firm: Farm
Main Products: Dairy
Size of Firm: 950 milking cows; 1400 total acres
Ownership Type: private
Year Installed: 2007
Energy Feedstock: Manure from all milking cows and all heifers; 2/3 of dry cows; 3,000 gallons/week of B&J’s waste
Energy Produced: Biogas: 115,500 cu_ft/day; Electricity: 1,827,620 kWh in 2014
Energy Uses: Waste heat is used to heat utility room, warm water, heat entire farmhouse, and heat maintenance facility
Resources Upcycled or Conserved: Fossil fuels/heating oil
New co-products: Bedding
Money Saved: Farmhouse: saved $4-5000 in 2014; Maintenance facility: saved $4000 in 2014; Utility room: saved $4000 in 2014
TCO2 Eq Avoided: 2,668 metric tons CO2E/yr