From Butter to BTU's and Fertilizer

Author: Ania Stilwell | September 03, 2019


From Butter to BTU's and Fertilizer

What happens to all of the butter from the sculpture now that the New York State Fair is over? It's a fair question! Be assured, the butter is put to good use! Dairy farmers are the original environmentalists and try not to let anything go to waste. Not even butter.  

The butter: it's toast

All that butter! It looks creamy delicious, but no, you cannot eat it! The butter from the butter sculpture is inedible. Would you really want to eat something that's been handled in a non-sterile environment, with temperatures raised and lowered for sculptability? No, thank you! 

As Real as it gets

It takes about 2 hours to undo the 10 days of work it took to transform the butter into the sculpture. The butter from this year's "Milk. Love What's Real" sculpture has a new reality following it's 13-day stint at The Great New York State Fair. It's dismantled by Cornell Cooperative Extenson Master Gardeners, bit by bit, back into heaps of butter. 

Buttering up for the Ride

Dairy farmer Chris Noble loads the piles of 800 pounds of butter onto his truck to take to his family farm's digester in Pavilion, New York. Noblehurst Farms is one of the farm families of Craigs Creamery. Who butter to help Chris than his own kids! 

Digesting reality 

Once it reaches Noblehurst Farms, the butter is added to other inedible foods. Today's mix, mostly apple cinnamon filling that was intended for granola bars, some spoiled watermelons, squash and bell peppers.The butter and other items are consumed by the farm's digester. In the digester, the food is converted into energy to power the farm and liquid fertilizer for crops. 

This is Noblehurst farm's fourth year recycling the butter from the sculpture. 


American Dairy Association North East is one of 16 state and regional promotion organizations working under the umbrella of the United Dairy Industry Association. It is the local affiliate of the National Dairy Council®, which has been conducting nutrition education and nutrition research programs since 1915. For more information, visit www.americandairy.com.