The James and Rooney families own and manage Monument Farms, Inc., which began in 1930 three generations ago with about 20 Jersey cows, an operation that entailed bottling raw milk and selling it to hospitals and restaurants. Nowadays, the farm includes a 720-head dairy herd and a current workforce of 34 employees. They are the only large scale Vermont dairy processor that sells milk exclusively from their own herd, and they are known for producing all of Middlebury College’s milk.
Monument Farms Dairy is rooted in the life cycles of its cows, its land, and its family. For four generations, Monument has operated under a unique “vertical integration” system such that they grow their own feed, raise their own cows, process their own milk, and distribute their own product from Vermonters to Vermonters.
In 2010, the farm began construction of an anaerobic digester onsite, which became operation in 2011. Some challenges that arose during the building process included: finding a digester site, choosing the right pumps and agitators, and enduring the cost of the CVPS interconnection. With the digester now running relatively smoothly, the farm’s goals include selling a small amount of manure solids to a local company that makes compost, and drag lining prior to digestion. They used to agitate the manure for 2 days, and now they are able to agitate and pump at the same time. They can quickly pump to a satellite pond, which allows for distributing the liquid digested manure, leads to significant time savings, and is easier to pump.
IFES Number: 82
Type of Firm: Farm
Main Products: Dairy; compost/bedding
Size of Firm: 450-550 milking cows; 2600 acres
Ownership Type: Private
Energy System Components: Anaerobic digester
Operational Status: Operational
Year Installed: 2011
Energy Feedstock: Manure from 500 cows; Dairy processing waste; Fats, oils & grease
Energy Produced: 845,000 kWh/yr
Energy Uses: Cogeneration
New co-products: Compost/bedding
Money Saved: $2,765,000 year to date in electricity sales
TCO2 Eq Avoided: 1,230 CO2E/yr