PRESS RELEASE: VHCB’s Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program Awards over $360,000 to 12 Farms for Infrastructure and Water Quality Improvements

Contact: Ela Chapin, Viability Program Director, VHCB 802-828-2117Ela@vhcb.org

The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program, a program of the Vermont Housing & ConservaVHCB’s Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program Awards over $360,000 to 12 Farms for Infrastructure and Water Quality Improvementstion Board, awarded a total of $368,794 to 12 Vermont farms through its Water Quality and Dairy Improvement Grant programs. Five farms from Rutland, Franklin, and Addison counties were awarded $146,829 in Water Quality Grants. These grants leveraged $1.6 million in additional funding for capital improvement projects to reduce runoff and improve manure management and soil health. The Viability Program grants are matched by the farmers’ funds, bank loans, and grant funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. Funding for the Water Quality Grants comes from the State of Vermont’s Capital Construction and Bonding Act.

The Viability Program also awarded $221,965 in Dairy Improvement Grants to eight farmers in Chittenden, Orleans, Franklin, Windham, and Addison counties. The grants will be used to support infrastructure improvement projects with combined costs of over $1.1 million that will improve cow health, cow comfort, farm efficiency, and water quality. Funding for the Dairy Improvement Grants comes from Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy, LLC, producers of Green Mountain Creamery Greek yogurt from Vermont milk.

Anson Tebbetts, Secretary of the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, said, “In a time of low milk prices, financial assistance – from the Viability Program, NRCS, and our Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets – is critical to help farmers make needed capital improvements. The outcomes of these projects, ranging from better tracking of animal health to eliminating run-off, will have positive impacts for the ecological and economic health of Vermont’s farms.”

Wayward Goose Farm is a 50-acre grass-based dairy farm in West Pawlet. Farmers Daniel and Laurie Brooks received a Water Quality Grant to build a pole barn. Half of the structure will be a covered barnyard for the cows, protecting them from weather. The other half of the structure will be used for manure storage. Brooks commented, “A covered barnyard will limit exposure to the elements for cows, while also increasing animal feed quality. The manure storage facility will help our composted manure retain its valuable nutrients by limiting its exposure to the elements and preventing nutrients from leaching away each time it rains or snows. All of this fits in with our farm’s long-term plans by creating more favorable conditions for our cows’ health and improving water quality.”

Vermont farmers with a gross farm income of $15,000 or more are eligible to apply for grants of up to $40,000. For information about available grants and upcoming deadlines, visit www.vhcb.org/viability or call 828-5587.

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Water Quality Grant Awards:

Greg Bouchard, Bouchard Family Dairy, Franklin
$40,000 for a dragline manure injection system

Laurie and Daniel Brooks, Wayward Goose Farm, West Pawlet
$40,000 to build a covered barnyard and manure storage facility

Richard H. and Richard J. Hulett, Stonebroke Farm, Pawlet
$15,000 for a bedded pack heifer barn with a leachate collection system

Matt and Jennifer Hull, Dalestead Farm and Maple, Enosburg Falls

$40,000 for a manure storage facility and manure management equipment

 

Brian and Cindy Kayhart, Chalker Farm, Vergennes

$11,829 to create a rotational grazing system

Dairy Improvement Grant Awards:

 

Karie Atherton, Aires Hill Farm, Berkshire

$40,000 to buy a cow activity and milk monitoring system

 

Matt Baldwin, Baldwin Farms, Hinesburg

$40,000 to build a winter outdoor feeding area to comply with organic rules

 

Roseanne Domina, Domina Farms, Berkshire

$30,871 to outfit a milkhouse to be able to milk cows at home farm

 

Jeff Dunklee, Vern-Mont Farm, Vernon

$33,844 to expand a barn for improved herd management

 

Brian and Cindy Kayhart, Chalker Farm, Vergennes

$3,000 to resurface a barn floor

 

Aaron and Chantale Nadeau, Top Notch Holsteins, Holland

$14,000 to upgrade manure management and ventilation

 

Paul and Becky Plouffe, Plouffe Family Farm, Bridport

$20,250 to replace a bulk tank

Robert and Normand Thibault, Robert and Normand Thibault Farm, Colchester

$40,000 for a wastewater and manure storage system

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The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program provides business planning, technical assistance, and ownership transfer planning to farm, food and forest products businesses. For more information about the program please visit the Viability Program website: www.vhcb.org/viability or call Liz Gleason, Program Manager, at 802-828-3370.

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