Integrating renewable energy generated by Massachusetts farms

Cows courtesty of Pine Island Farm in Sheffield, MA

Local Renewable Energy

The Greenfield Light & Power Program has made a commitment to supporting New England renewable energy efforts by integrating energy from regional renewable energy projects, including Massachusetts farms. Specifically, the program has acquired a total of 1,385 solar Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from solar systems in Greenfield and nearby communities. Additionally, the program has acquired RECs from renewable energy systems on four Massachusetts farms:

Pine Island Farm
Biscuit Hill Farm
Four Star Farms
Red Hill Farm

The RECs are being used to meet the program’s renewable energy requirements under the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).

Pine Island Farm

 Cows at Pine Island Farm in Sheffield, MA

Pine Island Farm is a dairy farm in Sheffield, MA. The farm uses an anaerobic digester system to convert cattle waste to electricity.

From the Pine Island Farm web site: “Pine Island Farm is a partnership dairy operation jointly owned by Louis T. Aragi Sr. and Louis T. Aragi Jr.   All the farm’s tillable cropland is used to grow feed that is harvested for the farm’s herd.  The Aragi family has been farming at the 1474 location since 1964.  Approximately 1600 head of Holstein dairy cattle make up the dairy herd at Pine Island Farm. In 2011 the farm took the opportunity from all other angles to think outside the box in order to take maximum advantage of their available resources and implement things that have benefited the farm-labor efficiencies, cost savings, and increased profitability.  With the installation of a methane digester, the farm has been able to address environmental issues, and created  by-products that are being used on and off the farm.”

Visit Pine Island Farm on Facebook.

Learn more about the farm’s use of an anaerobic digester system.

Biscuit Hill Farm

Barn with solar panels on Biscuit Hill Farm

Biscuit Hill Farm is a horse farm in Shelburne, MA. IN 2010, the farm received a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources to install a 90 solar panels on the roof of one of their buildings. The electricity generation from the solar panels meets nearly all of the farm’s electricity needs.

Visit the Biscuit Hill Farm web site.

See the solar output of Biscuit Hill Farm.

Visit Biscuit Hill Farm on Facebook.

Four Star Farms

Four Star Farms corn field

Four Star Farms is a grain farm in Northfield, MA. The farm has a 65.4 kW solar array.

From the Four Star Farms web site: “We are a sustainable family farm in Western Massachusetts providing locally grown grains, freshly milled flour, hops and turf. We take great pride in the level of quality that we pass along to you; only offering crops that we have grown in our own fields, and have processed and packaged to-order right here on the farm.

Nestled along the banks of the Connecticut River you’ll find our family farm, a fertile piece of land, upon which we live and work. Our heritage is deeply rooted in agricultural tradition, built and passed down by 14 generations, and driven by a steadfast commitment to responsibly balance what is right for the environment with what is viable for our farmland and our family.”

Visit the Four Star Farms web site.

Visit Four Star Farms on Facebook.

Red Fire Farm

Field of kale at Red Fire Farm

Red Fire Farm is a vegetable farm in Granby, MA. The farm installed solar panels in 2010 with the help of grants from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC), the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), and the Natural Resources Conservations Service (NRCS).

From the Red Fire Farm web site: “This 110 acre farm is in the heart of the rich Montague meadows.  The soils in this part of Montague are rich alluvial soils that were deposited by the glacial melt flooding of the nearby Connecticut and Sawmill rivers.  The fields are classified primarily as Hadley and Agawam soil series, which are considered to be among the most fertile soils in the world for growing vegetables!

The farmstead dates back to at least the 1800’s.  The farmstead consists of a large hay barn with a big vegetable packing wing, two tobacco barns and a classic New England farm house.  Until 2009 the farm has been owned by the Tuvek family.  The land over the years has been rented out to a variety of farmers including stints growing cucumbers for pickles, tobacco and a multitude of other vegetables.  With the sale of the property to Red Fire Farm in 2009, Ryan and Sarah transitioned the land to certified organic practices.”

Visit the Red Fire Farm web site.

Visit Red Fire Farm on Facebook.