The 55th annual butter sculpture at the New York State Fair has come down, but it isn’t going to waste.

American Dairy Association North East, in conjunction with Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners and Noblehurst Farms, dismantled the 800-pound sculpture at the New York State Fairgrounds. Ultimately, the butter – which was provided by O-AT-KA Milk Products in Batavia, N.Y., and was unsuitable for sale or consumption for a variety of reasons – will return to Western New York, less than 15 miles away from where it was originally produced, to be recycled at a local dairy farm.

Noblehurst Farms in Pavilion, N.Y., will combine the butter with other food waste from local food manufacturers and educational institutions and run it through the farm’s digester, converting it into energy. The digester breaks down the material and creates enough electricity to power the farm, the farm’s on-site creamery and about 350 homes for a year. Specifically, the butter from the butter sculpture alone will be able to power one house for three days.

“We are honored to be recycling the New York State Fair butter sculpture for the eighth year in a row,” said Jack Klapper, co-owner of Noblehurst Farms. “We will mix the butter sculpture with other food waste and convert it to energy over the course of about 28 days. That energy will be turned into electricity which will power homes in the local community.”

In recent years, Noblehurst Farms has been recognized nationally for achievements in sustainability and community partnerships to divert food waste from local landfills. The result of Noblehurst’s efforts have led to diverting 200 tons of food waste from local landfills on a weekly basis.

“Our awareness of the role that dairy farmers are playing in addressing the global food waste problem has definitely heightened,” said Klapper. “We are hopeful that our innovative food waste reduction practices will bring additional value as New York State focuses on reducing methane and sequestering carbon in the coming years.”

This year’s sculpture, “Dairy Every Day is a Healthy Way – Keeping Kids’ Health on Track,” highlighted the important nutritional role dairy foods play in helping brains, bones and bodies grow.