Stonyvale Farm (Fogler Farm)
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Name:            Stonyvale Farm (Fogler Farm)

Address:        226 Fogler Road

                       Exeter, Maine  04435

Phone:           207-379-2963




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Products and Services:


-energy & heat production - anaerobic digesters

-renewable energy certificates

-animal bedding

-soil enhancer

-liquid fertilizer

-semen and embryo sales

What Makes Stonyvale Farm (Fogler Farm) Unique?

One of the goals of the Unique Maine Farms’ project is to share information with young students about some of the exciting agricultural endeavors taking place in Maine. Through agricultural educational outreach projects, young people learn about so many of the opportunities and possibilities that can exist in the future world of farming. After visiting Stonyvale Farm (also known as Fogler Farm),  one comes away with a realization that so much of the success of this particular farm has resulted from a willingness of the family members to broaden their horizons and pursue higher education; explore some of the new technologies; and embrace challenge and change.

Ray Fogler encouraged a respect for education throughout his life.  He was a 1915 graduate of the University of Maine at Orono.  His offspring transformed the farm into a model commercial dairy in the 1950’s.  Today there is a partnership of nine family members who help to run the farm.  Stonyvale Farm is a 2500-acre dairy farm with approximately 1000 milking cows, 150 dry cows, and 800 young.  Each day the cows produce around 7,900 gallons of quality milk that is purchased by the Dairy Farmers of America Cooperative and sold to Hood and Garelick Farms. 

The farmers at Stonyvale have quite a diverse educational background. Over the years many ideas have been gathered and evaluated to suggest alternative ways of operating.  Degrees have been earned by farm employees in Bio-Resource Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Dairy Management, Engineering Physics, Electrical Science, Agricultural Business Management, Applied Sciences, American Studies, and Diesel Engine and Heavy Equipment Management. 

Through collaborative discussions and a great deal of hard work, a realization came about that there could be alternative methods to deal with the manure and nutrient supply issues.  The waste from 1800 animals adds up very quickly - in reality, one is talking in the tune of 20,000 pounds of manure that is generated per day.  The idea of an anaerobic digester system was proposed.

The anaerobic digester system that was introduced at Stonyvale Farm in 2011 is the first of its kind in New England. At Stonyvale Farm, the large amount of manure that is produced by the animals on the farm is collected and pumped underground and mixed with organic food waste.  It is then transported to the two digesters where it is heated to one hundred degrees and transformed into biogas, which is about sixty percent methane and forty percent carbon dioxide.  The biogas fuels a sixteen-cylinder 1,500 horsepower engine that produces 24,000 killowatt hours per day. This transfers into generating enough electricity to provide power for 800 homes on a continual basis. The electricity is sold to ISO New England/Bangor Hydro-Electric through a fixed-rate power contract of ten cents per killowatt-hour. 

One reason that there are only around one hundred anaerobic digester systems that are in place in our country is because the initial investment to build the system is very expensive.  Stonyvale Farm’s system cost 5.2 million dollars.  Biogas Energy Partners, a renewable energy development company run by Adam Wintle, handled and continues to monitor the financing and development aspects of the project. Exeter Agri-Energy, which was formed as a subsidiary company of Stonyvale Farm, focuses on the production and sales of the electricity from the anaerobic digester.  John Wintle is the Project and Facilities Manager.

The anaerobic digester system would not have materialized at Stonyvale Farm if it weren’t for the financial assistance from many supporters.  Sizable grants (totaling 2.8 million)  came from Efficiency Maine, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the United States Treasury Department.  Farm Credit of Maine helped with the acquisition of six million dollars in loans.

So many beneficial aspects have materialized from this project.  The farm has been able to bring in considerable earnings for the sale of the electricity.  Renewable energy certificates are being sold.  Approximately four million BTUs of heat are produced per hour through the trapping of exhaust gases from the engine. This is used to heat antifreeze that is pumped back into the system.  This process saves an enormous amount in heating costs at the farm.

One of the by-products of the anaerobic digester process is the left-over, clean, dry fiber which is used as bedding for the cows.  Stonyvale Farm has saved $80,000 a year in bedding costs as a result. The liquid fertilizer that is also a by-product is much more desirable than cow manure because it is more easily absorbed in the fields and it is basically odor-free.  Some of the issues that the former manure storage facilities presented have been eradicated and the new methods have proven more cost effective and more environmentally-friendly in regard to the protection of the watershed. Since the farm no longer needs to purchase commercial fertilizer for the fields, it is predicted that this will result in a significant savings each year. 

The anaerobic digester is also addressing the issue of the disposal of food waste in landfills.

Exeter Agri-Energy is able to accept all kinds of digestible organic materials.  They are actively seeking organic waste from food companies, hospitals, seafood processors, restaurants, educational facilities, solid waste trucking companies, and all different sources not limited to just large producers.

The anaerobic digester is not the only feature of Stonyvale Farm that is worthy of discussion.

The farm has been recognized for many other

accomplishments.  They participated in a SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) program that worked to build partnerships between dairy farmers and potato farmers in Maine.  The Dorman family, a neighboring potato farm family, and the Foglers agreed to manage 1500 acres of cropland together.  The manure from the dairy farm helped to revitalize the soil in the potato fields.  Due to crop rotation, sources of silage such as corn and barley were planted in some of the fields.  Winter rye was planted as a cover crop.  The results of this collaborative effort have proven to be advantageous to both farms.

The Dairy Farmers of America awarded Stonyvale Farm with a Gold Standard Dairy Award.  They were recognized as a New England Green Pastures Outstanding Dairy Farm of the Year winner in 2008.  A Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award was presented to Exeter Agri-Energy by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in May of 2013.  Stonyvale Farm raises all their replacement cows and also grows their own forages.  They are in the process of transitioning the farm to no-till.

All the awards and the recognition for the successful implementation of an anaerobic digester system are most impressive.  The environmental and economic benefits that have materialized from the digester system provide motivating factors for other farms to look into alternative uses for cow waste and organic food waste.

Equally exciting, and not always receiving as much media coverage, is the way that Stonyvale Farm continues to focus on the importance of higher education.  They hosted the New England Regional Dairy Challenge in 2012, where teams of college students evaluated the farm and made management recommendations.  This past fall Exeter Agri-Energy welcomed participants from Professor Mark Hutchinson’s Food Waste Management Workshop to learn about anaerobic digestion and diverting food waste from landfills.

Unquestionably, the proceeds from the fixed-rate power contract generated by the anaerobic digester system have become a much-appreciated stabilizing aspect in the financial operation of a dairy farm that is constantly challenged by the high fluctuations that take place in the pricing of milk. It should be noted that the respect for higher education and continued learning that have been integral to the operation of Stonyvale Farm have also been powerful forces in the success of this Exeter dairy operation that has been run by five generations of the Fogler family.


The FarmStonyvale_Around_the_Farm.html

The anaerobic digester system that enables cow waste to be transformed into energy and heat production.

Travis Fogler is the CFO and Dairy Operations Manager of Stonyvale Farm.

John Wintle manages Exeter Agri-Energy, a subsidiary of Stonyvale Farm.

Biogas Energy Partners, a renewable energy development company run by Adam Wintle, handles the financing and development aspects of the anaerobic digester project that is based at Stonyvale Farm.

The New England Green Pastures Award recognizes outstanding dairy farm management, forage crop management, and leadership in the agricultural industry.  It was presented to Stonyvale Farm in 2008.

DFA named Stonyvale a Gold Standard Dairy in 2009 after the dairy ranked high on on-site reviews conducted by DFA field staff. Questions covered six categories: Milk Safety and Quality; Quality Dairy Animal Care; Environmental Stewardship; Personnel Development; Pathogen Management; and Quality Dairy Beef.