Bob Foster has been on the leading edge of dairy diversification since the early 1980s. He coined the term “Cow Power” when he saw the opportunity to source clean-burning, environmentally safe, abundant energy from right under his feet…so-to-speak. The Fosters were among the first to install an anaerobic digester on their dairy farm, which allows them to meet their electricity needs through generators powered by methane gas released from treated cow manure. Any excess is sold to a local utility. The family has also built one of the largest manure-based compost companies, producing and marketing Moo Doo, which is sold around the Northeast.
Compost for Sale
Bob Foster, a pioneer in dairy farm diversity, and his wife, Nancy.
Foster Brothers started Moo Doo®, recycling cow manure into rich, naturally fertilizing compost.
Foster Brothers Farm dates back to 1941 and is a fifth-generation family farm in Vermont’s beautiful Champlain Valley. Bob was raised on the farm, attended University of Vermont and has devoted his whole life to farming and supporting other farmers through work on the co-op board and other advocacy. “I enjoy the thought that we are converting solar energy into food, fiber and energy to nourish animals, plants, and people – in an environment that directly involves family,” Bob says. “I like that we create products people need.”
Nature is majestic and it is all around us and in everything that we as farmers do.
- Bob Foster
Risks and rewards
“Farming uses lots of science, natural resources, animals, and people to continually make improvements in how we interact with our environment,” Bob continues. “It sounds grandiose, but really that is what farming is all about. People should also realize there are a lot of challenges and risks along the way. You cannot control all of them, but it’s a very rewarding way of life and an important aspect of our society.”