Grantee: Rainbow Valley Biodiesel
Rainbow Valley Biodiesel: On-Farm Biodiesel Facility
“There is a finite amount of crude oil available in the world and eventually that is going to start becoming harder to come by. When that happens, facilities like Rainbow Valley Biodiesel will be on the front line of serving local energy needs.” – Mark Mordasky
Grantee: Mark and Bill Mordasky
Location: Orwell, Vermont; Addison County
Crops: Soybeans (conventional)
Project Description: Bill Mordasky was a life-long dairy farmer, moving his farm to Orwell from Connecticut in 1987. After 35 years in the dairy business, Bill sold the cows in 2006 and began to diversify his operations. In the first year, Bill primarily produced hay which he sold to local farms to feed their livestock and did custom tilling, planting, and bailing for local farmers. In 2007, Bill’s son Mark returned to the farm after serving six years in the Marine Corps and the father and son team began exploring further diversification, expanding the farm’s crop list to 60 acres of winter rye and 10-acre test plot of soybeans.
With outstanding success from both crops, the Mordasky’s began looking towards the future. Volatile fuel prices and an unstable economy threatened the long-term sustainability of the farm unless it became more self-sufficient, so the Mordasky’s began to consider farm-made biodiesel as an option. Several buildings had stood unused since the sale of the cows and the investment in machinery for custom-work had already been made, so building a biodiesel plant large enough to custom process for neighboring farms was a logical next step in diversifying Rainbow Valley Farm’s operations.
Rainbow Valley was awarded $65,000 in 2008-2010 to expand on-farm biodiesel production capacity in Vermont, while helping to reduce the amount of petroleum fuel needed to operate their farm. In addition to meeting their own fuel needs, the farm will eventually provide oilseed processing and fuel production services for neighboring farms in Rutland and Addison counties. For 2011-2013, Rainbow Valley was awarded $35,250 to increase grain storage and oilseed pressing capacity in order to expand the scale of oilseed and biodiesel production.