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A Closed-System, Energy Independent Organic Dairy Farm for the Northeastern U.S.

John Aber, Bill McDowell,
Matt Davis, Matt Smith

Highlighted Project:
Development of an Integrated system for converting low-grade Conifer wood into bedding, with aerobic Composting of the bedding/manure mixture For thermal energy gain and reduced environmental impacts


The goal of this project is to enhance the long-term sustainability of organic dairy farm agroecosystems in northern New England through the development, implementation and evaluation of innovative management practices and systems designed to reduce energy demand and to close nutrient cycles.

This research is made possible by the unique characteristics of UNH’s Burley-Demeritt Agroecology Research Station in Lee, NH at the Organic Dairy Research Farm (ODRF). This is one of five research farms supported by the NH Agricultural Experiment Station, and is the first commercial-scale organic dairy research farm at a land-grant institution.

The project brings well-developed concepts derived from the study of native ecosystems to bear on this 300-acre (~120 ha) managed system.

The project is supported by the USDA Program on Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), and the NH Agricultural Experiment Station (NHAES).