New York State Fair butter sculpture recycled at Western NY dairy farm

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SYRACUSE — The 52nd annual Butter Sculpture at the New York State Fairgrounds came down Friday, but it isn’t going to waste.

The American Dairy Association North East partnered with Noblehurst Farms, Linwood, Livingston County, to transport and recycle the deconstructed 800-pound butter sculpture, which was created using “scrap butter,” which is butter from damaged packaging or similar circumstances which make it unsuitable for sale or consumption.

Noblehurst Farms will now recycle the butter in the dairy farm’s methane digester and convert it into renewable energy. In addition to receiving the deconstructed butter sculpture each year, the digester receives up to 200 tons of food waste each week, diverting it from landfills. The digester creates enough energy to power homes in the community and the farm’s on-site creamery, which provides dairy ingredients to manufacturers of cheese, yogurt, ice cream and other dairy products.

“We are honored to be recycling the New York State Fair Butter Sculpture for the fifth year in a row,” said Chris Noble, dairy farmer at Noblehurst Farms and Craigs Creamery. “We plan to mix the butter sculpture with other food waste collected from food retailers and manufacturers to create a delicious recipe for the anaerobic bacteria in our digester to munch on in order to create renewable energy.”

Noblehurst Farms has been recognized for achievements in sustainability and community partnerships to divert food waste from local landfills.

This year’s sculpture, “Nourishing Our Future,” tribute to those who ensure children are receiving nourishment and learning — whether in school or at home — including dairy farmers, school nutrition staff, teachers and parents, according to a release from the association.

The two-sided “masterpiece” depicted a dairy farmer giving milk to a child learning from home alongside his mother and “virtual” teacher, present on a laptop screen, and to another child learning in school, with a school nutrition worker delivering a meal tray to the classroom. Both settings illustrate the vital contributions and commitment to “nourishing our future.”

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