The Two Degree Difference: Vermont’s Goodrich Farm leads in sustainability

Goodrich Family Farm in Salisbury, Vermont has been recognized with a 2021 US Dairy sustainability award. They are one of only three farms chosen nationally.

Every year their farm milks over 900 cows and maintains about 2,000 acres of land. Chase and Danielle Goodrich, owners of the multi-generational farm say they are extremely humbled to be recognized with the award.

“We want to continue on the legacy of the farm that my dad and grandfather had created…” said Danielle Goodrich. “We knew in order to do that, we needed to do environmental practices that were always being innovative and we knew we needed to diversify out income.”

In 2020 the farm launches a 1.32 million gallon anaerobic digester that produces renewable natural gas annually and reduces the farms carbon footprint.

Vanguard Renewables, developer, owner and operator of the digester are working alongside Goodrich Farm, Vermont Gas Systems and Middlebury College, which will purchase much of the natural gas produced by the digester. This will allow the college to get closer to its ten year goal of powering the campus with 100% renewable enrgy.

John Hanselman, the CEO and cofounder of Vanguard Renewables said their Salisbury location is their state of the art location and has “taken all of the combined learning from all of our systems and embodied it in that fabulous farm.”

The digester is also helping the state of Vermont meet its universal recycling law and achieve its goal of a 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“It’s great to get this recognition to be able to get this story out there but as a whole industry we have been really innovative and kind of taking the bull by the horns if you say and really trying to move forward.” said Chase Goodrich. “It is so crucial to our sustainability and viability to adapt and change and work towards these goals.” he added.

Now that construction on the digester is done, Danielle says they are “looking forward to continuing farming, doing that we love, doing what is best for the cows, doing what is best for the land and just staying here.”

But the job is not done yet for the industry as a whole. John Hanselman says expanding this technology could help continue to reduce emissions across the country.

“We could take a real bite out of greenhouse gas emissions if we could proliferate this technology and this concept, the mindset that waste isn’t waste unless you waste it.”

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