Robert Foster, who operates the 1,900-acre Foster Brothers Farm with his wife Nancy, his father and other family members, is credited with producing a new product – electricity – from cow manure from the farm’s 380 milking Holsteins. The year was 1982 and the concept was new at the time in the United States, but had been used in several foreign countries.
The Fosters’ environmental concerns led them to build an anaerobic digester, which acts as a large incubator for methane producing bacteria. Methane gas is a clean burning, environmentally safe source of fuel used to generate electricity. The electricity became a source of energy for the farm and the excess was sold to a local power company.
In 1991, the Fosters began using the solid residue to develop a line of compost potting materials. The products are found in nurseries and garden stores throughout the Northeast under the names of Moo Doo, Moo Grow, Moo Dirt and others.