University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities

Research Project

Renewable Energy on the Farm

Biomass on the Farm

About the Project

As Vermont farmers have faced the growing impacts of climate change while still confronting the volatility of fossil fuel prices, many have developed an interest in renewable energy produced on the farm, In 2006, the Center sought to develop an understanding of whether farms in Vermont and the Northeast region could derive an economic benefit from developing cost-effective on-farm energy sources.

To help explore this, the Center worked with partners across the state to develop and collect information that can help farmers evaluate the use of renewable energy. We partnered with our UVM Extension colleagues, and with farmers and other organizations across the state to conduct on-farm research and demonstration aimed at growing and processing oil-seed and sugar-producing crops for production of biodiesel.

Working with the Gund Institute and the Vermont Alternative Energy Corporation, the Center surveyed dairy farmers about their interest in growing and processing biodiesel crops. A model was developed to better understand the economic conditions and business structures under which an agriculturally-supported biodiesel industry could be developed in Vermont. Download the 2007 Oilseed Report to see its results.


The results of this initial work are in the 2006 report on On-Farm Oil Seed Production and Processing. Additionally, the 2006 Annual Report from Vermont’s Sustainable Agriculture Council summarized alternative energy enhancement activities then underway in Vermont.

Since then, many other Vermont farms and organizations have been involved in studying the opportunities and obstacles associated with on-farm biofuel production, often with funding from the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund Biofuels Initiative.

Links to on-farm energy resources and research in Vermont & the Northeast

Links to national and international on-farm energy resources and research


Jenn Colby, Pasture Program Coordinator, 802-656-0858 or

Last modified October 31 2013 11:05 AM