Keewaydin Farm had only 14 cows when it started out in 1921. By 1940, the number had increased to 80, which is the same number that exists there today. In the 1950s, the farm’s cows produced 27 lbs. of milk per day. Today they are able to produce 50-55lbs per day (with a smaller cow breed too).
The farm has been one of many in the state of Vermont to consider transitioning to organic practices, but due to ethical and financial reasons – including that its location is not conducive to pasturing – they ultimately decided against the change.
In 2011, Keewaydin Farm built a modular plug flow digester largely due to their odor issues surrounding cow manure (they received many complaints from their neighbors regarding the farm’s smell). They wish they could take food waste from local restaurants to add to the digester but they don’t have the land area to do so. Nevertheless, the digester has allowed Keewaydin to sell solids – their most valuable product coming off the farm – while maintaining similar manure spreading practices as prior to its construction.
IFES Number: 79
Type of Firm: Farm
Main Products: Dairy
Size of Firm: 80 milking cows; 135 total acres
Ownership Type: private
Year Installed: 2011
Energy Feedstock: Manure from 120 cows; wastewater
Energy Produced: Biogas produced: 5,000 cu_ft/day; Electricity produced: 44,920 kWh/yr
Energy Uses: Heat digester, barns, and farmhouse
New co-products: Solids: Compost; Bedding
TCO2 Eq Avoided: 235 metric tons CO2E/yr