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Farm Fresh Fuel Project

Farm Fresh Fuel is in the works again for 2014! Stay tuned for more information on the project as we plant sunflowers in Grand Isle County again this season. Find out more by reading the April Vermont Bioenergy Initiative blog post about the project.

UVM Extension’s Farm Fresh Fuel Project was featured in a VT Digger slideshow on climate change solutions in the state. View the article and slideshow here.

You can read a report of the project’s pilot year by clicking here: Farm Fresh Fuel 2012.

Since 2004, UVM Extension and Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund have been working with farmers to develop on-farm fuel facilities. The overall goal is to gain energy and financial security on farms while reducing fossil fuel usage. This has included significant investment in appropriate agronomic research and necessary infrastructure on several farms. Newly produced agronomic research continues to assist producers with improving overall yields and quality of seed; however additional research is essential in the area of pest management. Pests continue to be the primary yield-limiting factor. High yields are a critical component of the overall success of this venture. Currently there is the potential to produce 625,000 gallons of biodiesel in Vermont. This would also produce 9,076 tons of oilseed meal that could be used for fertilizer or feed on farms. Now that significant infrastructure and biodiesel producing infrastructure exists it is time to increase the participation of farmers to fully utilize the farm fuel facilities. Throughout the project span many farmers have attended educational meetings and expressed interest in growing oilseed crops but few have become involved with production. Overall there has been slow growth in implementation and adoption of oilseed production throughout the state of Vermont. Check out the video and photos below for a peek into the Farm Fresh Fuel Project in its pilot year, 2012.

These sunflowers have a nice view of the Greens

These sunflowers have a nice view of the Greens

Conducting the National Sunflower Survey in Grand Isle

Conducting the National Sunflower Survey in Grand Isle

Seed harvest

Seed harvest

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Photo courtesy of Emily Alger, South Hero Land Trust

Photo courtesy of Emily Alger, South Hero Land Trust

Late September skies, photo courtesy of Emily Alger, South Hero Land Trust

Late September skies, photo courtesy of Emily Alger, South Hero Land Trust

Hannah Harwood, UVM Ext Technician, surveys sunflowers, photo courtesy of Emily Alger, South Hero Land Trust

Hannah Harwood, UVM Ext Technician, surveys sunflowers, photo courtesy of Emily Alger, South Hero Land Trust

Photo courtesy of Emily Alger, South Hero Land Trust

Photo courtesy of Emily Alger, South Hero Land Trust

South Hero sunflower field, photo courtesy of Emily Alger, South Hero Land Trust

South Hero sunflower field, photo courtesy of Emily Alger, South Hero Land Trust

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Roger Rainville harvests Steve Read's sunflower field

Roger Rainville harvests Steve Read's sunflower field

Collecting seed into a wagon

Collecting seed into a wagon

Roger Rainville and Heather Darby, Alburgh innovators of the Farm Fresh Fuel project

Roger Rainville and Heather Darby, Alburgh innovators of the Farm Fresh Fuel project

The Farm Fresh Fuel Project attempts to include as many farmers as possible in Grand Isle County, Vermont in the production of oilseed crops. Producing their own fuel, food, and animal feed with oilseeds like sunflower and canola, these farms will serve as a unified model for other small communities. With the resources and expertise right in their small county, Grand Isle serves as a perfect test area for this groundbreaking project.

Check out the Northwest Crops and Soils Program’s Oilseeds page for more information and research. You can contact Heather Darby at UVM Extension to learn more about this specific project or participate in it!

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