New York State Fair’s 800-lb. butter sculpture dismantled and recycled into energy

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The 53rd Annual Butter Sculpture at the New York State Fair come down Monday, 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 due to defects in packaging – 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., (Livingston County) 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.

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.

This year’s sculpture, “Back to School, Sports, and Play … You’re Gonna Need Milk For That,” featured three scenes – teens in a school cafeteria, on a soccer field, and at home gaming. The masterpiece illustrated that whether in school, participating in sports or at play with their friends, dairy products are an important component of meals and snacks offering essential nutrients to power learning and fuel physical activities.