Project Description

Bar-Way Farm, Inc. is a multi-generational dairy farm in Deerfield, Massachusetts, founded in 1919 and operated by Steven Melnik and his son, Peter. The farm encompasses 600 acres of cropland. More than 300 cows are milked each day producing an average of 2,000 gallons of milk daily. The farm is a member of Dairy Farmers of America (DFA).

The Vanguard Renewables Farm Powered Anaerobic Digester at Bar-Way Farm was constructed in 2016 and features a 660,000-gallon capacity anaerobic digester tank. The facility combines more than 9,000 tons of manure and 36,500 tons of food waste annually and converts it to renewable energy. This offsets more than 2 million pounds of CO2 emissions annually. The 7,700 MWh of renewable energy produced each year by the Deerfield anaerobic digester system is enough to power 1,600 homes.

Manure from the dairy farm operation and organic food and beverage waste are combined in the anaerobic digester and microorganisms convert sugars, fats, and other compounds into biogas to produce renewable energy and low carbon fertilizer. The farm receives an annual lease payment for hosting the anaerobic digester, hot water, heat, and energy savings.

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  • 600-acre dairy farm

  • Founded in 1919

  • 300 cows milked daily

  • Produces more than 2,000 gallons of milk daily

  • Located in Deerfield, Mass.


  • Construction 2016

  • 660,000-gallon capacity


  • Annual hosting lease payment
  • Low carbon fertilizer to increase crop yields
  • Reduced energy cost
  • Odor reduction
  • Reduction in chemical fertilizer use
  • Enhanced nutrient management plan
  • Heat and hot water

Annual Digester Input

9,125 tons of manure
36,500 tons of food waste

Annual Digester Output

Produces 7,700 MWh of renewable energy
Offsets more than 1,000 tons of CO2 emissions
Produces renewable energy equivalent to 1,600 homes

Receives organic waste from food manufacturers and provides renewable energy via net metering credits to businesses

Bar-Way Farm in the News

Farmers Benefit from Farm Powered Anaerobic Digestion

Farmers talk about the benefits of hosting a Farm Powered anaerobic digester on their farm including a diversified income stream to sustain the farm for future generations. They also reflect on overall benefits to the farm including regenerative agriculture best practices, increased crop yields and milk production, herd health, greenhouse gas reduction, manure management, and community relations.

Growing Hemp With Digestate

After a growth trial in 2019, a Massachusetts CBD oil producer contracted with dairy farm in 2020 to grow 44 acres of hemp, fertilized with digestate.