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Farm Award Recipients
Dalestead Farms, Enosburgh Falls, VT
Over the years, the Hulls have made significant investments in their farm to protect water quality. Warren, Marie, Matt and Eric milk about 90 mature cows and raise/house about 80 dry cows and heifers/calves. The entire herd is on pasture the entirety of the grazing season. In 2008 the Hulls enrolled over 15 acres of pasture in the USDA/VT Agency of Agriculture Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program. All of these acres were planted with trees and shrubs to initiate the conversion of these riparian areas to forested buffer zones, which will protect and improve water quality in the nearly 11,000 feet/over 2 miles of buffered stream. To exclude their herd from these sensitive riparian areas, the Hulls installed a total of 12,700’ of high-tensile fence, 8 stream crossings, as well as a dug well, pipeline and water tubs. Because of the significant benefit to fish and wildlife habitat provided by the restoration of riparian areas to forested buffers, the US Fish and Wildlife’s Partner’s for Fish and Wildlife Program also provided cost share assistance to the overall project and specifically funded a large portion of two stream crossings with embedded/”live bottom” 4’ culverts to benefit aquatic organism passage.
The Hulls simultaneously worked with the Farmer’s Watershed Alliance to install simple exclusion fencing and two reinforced stream crossings to keep the herd out of streamside areas in pasture where the CREP minimum buffer of 35’ would have taken up too much land. Because the CREP program does not provide cost share for animal trails/walkways, the FWA bmp program also provided cost share for about 750’ of animal trail made necessary by the crep buffer configuration.
In the late 80’s/early 90s the Hulls installed a storage pond for their milkhouse waste, diverted all of their barn roof runoff from their barnyard area, and built a concrete barnyard. This barnyard was installed with a gravel level spreader and vegetated area set aside to treat the barnyard stormwater runoff, as was typical for that time. While installing the CREP-related bmps, the renovation of the treatment area for the barnyard was discussed/put on the farm’s list of things to do that would significantly benefit water quality and improve their ability to manage the barnyard. The original treatment area wasn’t engineered to be maintained easily and over time it filled in. In a big rain event the barnyard would turn into a big pond and the runoff would overwhelm the treatment area. In 2010, through a Conservation District Ag Resource Specialist- administered LCBP “Pollution Prevention on Small Farms” grant, the Hulls significantly renovated the barnyard treatment area to eliminate any runoff of dirty water from the barnyard.
In 2011, the Hulls used the FWA’s Use Exclusion Program (through the VTAAFM) cost share to install nearly 3000’ feet of additional high tensile fence and a reinforced/controlled water ramp, to protect about 4000’ of stream and associated wetlands. Finally, in order to move logs across one of the many streams that bisect their farm during a large logging job performed during the summer/fall of 2011, the Hulls borrowed one of the VT Forestry Division’s Portable Skidder Bridges. Matt and Eric are active in their community and both serve on the Bakersfield Volunteer Fire Department. Eric’s hobby is growing sweet corn and giant pumpkins. Matt is the head of the farm’s extensive maple sugaring operation is on the Board of the Cold Hollow Career Center Forestry and Natural Resources Program.
Conroy Farm, West Chazy, NY
This 180 year old farm has been owned and operated by the Conroy family beginning circa 1832 when John Conroy began selling milk and butter. Loose hay was brought back to the barn and compressed into 300 lb. bales for shipment to New York City. Cows, horses and sheep populated this general farm until the mid-1930’s when it became a dairy farm exclusively. A new milking barn was constructed at this time. On December 9, 1952 Thomas Conroy signed a Cooperator’s Agreement with the Clinton County SWCD. Cow numbers grew to 130 milkers by 1990 when the dairy cows were sold. Boarding race horses and raising beef cattle commenced after that. Today, the Conroy Farm is a commercial operation comprised of 207 acres feeding 100 head of Scottish Highland and Angus beef cattle along with 10 horses. Vegetables are also grown for sale at their roadside market.
Riley Brook flows through the farm on its way to Lake Champlain, which is about a mile away. A Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan was completed by Champlain Valley Agronomics in 2009. This includes soil testing and manure analysis along with a rotational grazing plan to properly utilize nutrients in an environmentally responsible manner.
A USDA Environmental Quality Incentive Plan (EQIP) contract was signed in 2009. Funding from this and CWICNY’s EPA Watershed Grant has allowed the Conroys to construct 2300 feet of riparian buffer fencing, 840 feet of access road, an improved cattle crossing, a roof run off structure with an underground outlet, and a bedded pack manure storage with a roof for winter run off protection. Nutrient management is being monitored by NRCS for the years 2010-2011-2012.
Each summer the Conroys invite the public to an all-day farm festival to enjoy the beautiful grounds and cattle while listening to live music and viewing various works of art. They often host the luncheon portion of New York’s annual Legislative Agricultural Tour where government officials are invited to Clinton County farms for an inside look at farming.
Les Jardins de Tessa S.E.N.C., Frelighburg, QC
This farm, located in close proximity to the Pike River, is owned and operated by Frédéric Duhamel and Yoana Gariépy. Farming since 1997 and certified organic by Québec-Vrai, over 40 varieties of vegetables are grown on 17.5 acres using reduced tillage practices. They also grow cover crops enriched with compost they produce on the farm.
As a Community Supported Agriculture farm, 425 and 350 baskets of vegetables are delivered per week in the summer and winter respectively. They also sell roughly 15% of their produce in public markets. During the summer months students have an opportunity to learn at their farm. The farm employs one full time and nine seasonal employees.
No awards were issued this year as priorities focused on recovery efforts from the effects of heavy spring flooding and Tropical Storm Irene.
Maple Summit Farms, Chazy, NY
Joe and Jana Garrant have been operating their farm near Corbeau Creek, a tributary of the Great Chazy River lower main stem, since 1987. Over time, their children, Jessica and Jacob, have helped work the farm, helping to milk 60 dairy cows twice each day and raise their farm’s replacement heifers. The Garrants house their young heifers separately in an open-air barn or hutch system.
Approximately 157 of the farm’s nearly 280 acres are cropped. They rent an additional 45 acres, which is managed for upland wildlife. This area receives no manure and is mowed between July 15th and August 15th. They attempt to keep a closed herd and provide all feed other than grain from the farm.
USDA Natural Resouces Conservation Service (NRCS) has completed a conservation plan for Maple Summit Farms. A covered manure storage system was built in 2009 with assistance from the New York State Agricultural Non-Point Source Pollution Abatement and Control Program. The waste produced from the milk house each day goes into a septic tank. Overflow leaches into a filter strip, and solids are separated and spread. All agricultural plastic is recycled using the Clinton County Soil and Water Conservation District baler, reducing their farm’s solid waste by an estimated eighty percent.
Ferme Gilles et Sylvie Godin Enr, Ste. Sabine, QC
Gilles and Sylvie Godin have been operating their cash crop organic farm of 205 acres since 1987. After a three-year transition period, they have been a fully recognized organic farm for four years. No mineral fertilizers or pesticides have been applied and no GMOs have been planted on the farm in these seven years. The farm consists of 64 acres in grain corn, 77 acres in soybean (for human consumption), 33 acres in oats, 43 acres in wheat (for human consumption), and 8 acres in hay. Ten acres are dedicated to buffer strips planted in switchgrass and scrubs.
The Godins are members of the Dura Club and the Cooperative de Solidarité du basin versant de la rivière aux Brochets. Their buffer strips are an example for all their neighbors, and their farm serves as a model for others interested in organic farming. With the advice of an organic specialist for the last several years, they have realized yields that are comparable if not superior to conventional operations in the area, and their fields are as clean of weeds as those managed conventionally.
Woodnotch Farms, Shoreham, VT
Loren and Gail Wood operate this dairy farm with their four sons, Lee, Leslie, Lance, and L.J.—the third generation on the farm. A fourth generation member is now on the farm and more grandchildren are on the way.
The Woods milk 250 Holstein dairy cows on 1,250 acres. The farm meets all standards of their Medium Farm Operation permit. They installed a silage leachate treatment system in 2009, and have implemented a new fuel containment facility. Manure is transferred from the barn manure storage to a remote storage a mile away using a transfer hose fed through a culvert, reducing farm equipment traffic and the resulting mud that is tracked on the road. In 2010 they started construction on a new barn to house heifers. They have a completed Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan.
The Wood family was one of the first in Addison County to conserve farmland with 1,250 acres currently conserved. They plant winter rye cover crop on 75 acres of corn and cover crop all the new seedings. Woodnotch Farm has worked with conservation partners to exclude their heifers from Jones Brook and to develop stream crossings to make land on both sides accessible for grazing. These crossings are whole and crushed stone over construction fabric and are designed so that high water flows can flow over the crossings without damage. Fully 10% (122.8 acres) of the farm is in riparian buffer—more than 30% of the 400 acres of riparian buffer in the watershed.
The Woods are active members of their community, participating in school, municipal, and agricultural committees and programs. The Wood sons participate in the Addison County Young Farmers group, where they help 65 farmers in the county learn the business.
The farm frequently offers public farm tours. In 2009 they hosted the Addison County Agricultural Tour as Conservation Farmer of the Year. The Woods have good relationships with their neighbors, hosting picnics on the farm and allowing hunting on their land with permission. During the early 2000s Lee, Leslie, Lance and L.J. offered hay wagon rides to the public, entertaining their guests with seemingly endless stories and anecdotes from their lives on the farm.
Hartshorn’s Santa Davida Farm, Waitsfield, VT
David Hartshorn has been voluntarily cover cropping his 20-acre organic vegetable farm since 2004 with financial and technical support provided by the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District. Using only one ton of organic granular fertilizer annually, David relies on dehydrated manure from a dairy farm in East Montpelier, wood ash from Ryegate, and the “green stuff”—his plowed down cover crop—to supply his outstanding vegetable and fruit crops with all the nutrients they need. David grows some of the earliest tomatoes and sweet corn in the Valley thanks to his healthy soils. He attributes the health of his soils to the use of hairy vetch and annual winter rye as cover crops, applied to the land as soon as the commodity crop is harvested and picked for the season. He finds this cropping rotation to help with water retention, building of organic matter, and growing an enormous earthworm count in the soil. David’s cover cropping practices also provide an important benefit to the adjacent surface waters of the Mad River Valley.
David’s operation serves as an excellent example for other farms in the Mad River Valley. In the fall of 2009, he invited the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District to visit his farming operation to discuss the agronomic and economic benefits to cover cropping. Over the past several years, community members and Rte 100b commuters alike have commented about how green the fields of the Mad River Valley are in late fall and early spring. David Hartshorn was honored as “Outstanding Conservation Farmer of the Year” by the Winooski NRCD at its Annual Dinner in November 2009.
Leerkes Farm, Ticonderoga, NY
Bernard Leerkes, Sr. started this quality milk dairy farm in 1956 when he brought his young family from Holland. Under three generations of Leerkes stewardship, the farm has grown to 1100 acres of crops, 200 milking cows, and another 200 young stock. Father, son, and nephew now operate the farm with the help of three part-time summer employees. They have participated in the NY Dairy Farm Business Summary Program for over 35 years. For several of these years, they were the most profitable rotational grazing farm in the NYS Business Summary.
In 2004, long before it was required, the farm implemented a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation Plan that meets New York State and U.S. Department of Agriculture requirements. They have implemented comprehensive nutrient management, pathogen reduction, integrated pest management, and safety plans.
Manure and milk house waste are sent to one of two engineered manure storage pits, and a silage leachate collection system is scheduled for construction this year. The farm minimizes its purchases of nitrogen and phosphorus by supplementing only after on-farm nutrients are used. Soil erosion is controlled by reduce tillage practices. Management Intensive Rotational Grazing is used for all dairy cows. They have an improved laneway to decrease mud and erosion and alternative water supplies in each field.
The farm has erected fencing along Five Mile Creek, creating a 25-foot buffer on both sides that restricts access to the creek by grazing animals. They have also fenced out a spring and woodlot. The farm composts the manure from calves for six months to be sure that cryptosporidia and giardia are destroyed before it is land spread. They also compost all dead animals so that other diseases and predators are minimized.
The Leerkes farm has a DEC approved plan to amend their soil with town sludge from the Waste Water Treatment Facility. They have a beneficial use permit that makes the best use of a product that could be a pollutant if burned or buried. All oil is recycled and fuel is stored above ground to where it can be inspected for leakage. Roof water is diverted to keep the clean water clean. Barnyard water runs into the manure pits to be collected and spread on fields with an approved plan.
The Leerkes’ farm provides tours for school children every year. This year 75 children learned where milk comes from and how farmers live. They also provide tours for the general public each year as part of the Adirondack Harvest Festival Week. The three principals of the farm participate actively in the Farm Bureau, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Miner Institute, Essex County Soil and Water Conservation District, several municipal boards in the Town of Ticonderoga, and in Agriculture Literacy Week in local elementary schools.
Ferme Sylvain Duquette, Notre-Dame-de-Stanbridge, QC
Sylvain Duquette has operated this small dairy farm since 1990, when he bought the farm from his father. Sylvain has approximately 80 heads including heifers and replacements. He currently milks 40 cows and has 220 acres in rotation with hay (primarily for his herd, but also commercial hay for horses), corn, soybean, and wheat. Much of the farm is managed with minimum tillage.
Sylvain is actively engaged in environmental stewardship. He has been a member of the sustainable agricultural club for years. He was one the founders of the Coopérative de Solidarité du basin versant de la Rivière aux Brochets and has served as administrator since its inception. He was the first to install buffer strips and runoff control structures on his land, and has since doubled the width of the buffers to 20 meters. He also has been preparing, seeding, and cropping similar buffers on his neighbors’ lands as part of the “La Lisière Verte” project and on the Beaver Creek buffer located about 10 kilometers from his farm. He also implemented a wind break on his farm fours years ago.
Sylvain is active in farm and civic organizations. He was treasurer of the Farm Transfer Organisation Iberville-Missisquoi for ten years and served as Farmer’s Union Director from 1998 to 2003 for the Notre-Dame-de-Stanbridge sector. He was a member of the Lake Champlain Group Agricultural Management Services from 1995 to 2004, serving as president for two years. He also served as president of the Notre-Dame-de-Stanbridge primary school board of parents, and since 2003 has been a volunteer fireman for his municipality. Additioanlly, he is an administrator on the Caisse Populaire of Bedford, Notre-Dame’s sector since 2008.
Everett Orchards LTD, Peru, NY
Captain Edward Everett came to the Champlain Valley in 1776 after serving under General Benedict Arnold in the American Revolution. First walking from Massachusetts, then sailing a small vessel from the south lake to the mouth of the Ausable River, he and his wife, Rachael, along with their children settled a 150 acre tract in what later became Peru, New York. Seven generations later, William and Tom Everett continue this family farming legacy by producing McIntosh and a number of other variety apples on their greatly expanded acreage near Lake Champlain.
Modern day Everett Orchards is a full time commercial apple grower packing apples for their wholesale clients throughout the United States and Europe. In addition, their retail outlet delivers quality apples, pies, cider, and wine direct to local consumers. Currently, the farm is comprised of 5 tracts of land totaling 552 acres, of which 266.4 are set to orchard. One of only 4 farms in the region to be accepted into USDA’s highly competitive Conservation Security Program (CSP), this farm combines a number of conservation practices with meticulous records to back them up. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is incorporated through cultural practices designed to improve light, air, and spray penetration, thereby minimizing disease outbreaks and pesticide usage. Precise Nutrient Management is practiced thanks to plant tissue/petiole analysis which is done every other year. Fertilizer application rates are matched to these tests, and 100% of all commercial fertilizer is banded below tree canopy level.
64.1 acres of apples are irrigated, and much of the plantation has subsurface drainage installed to improve tree growth and eliminate young tree mortality. Permanent sods within the orchard provide a Soil Conditioning Index level of .6 to .8 which is considered good within the CSP Enhancement guidelines. 6.2 acres of wildlife/riparian buffers protect 100% of all water bodies and wetlands on the farm with a 50’ wide strip of grass or trees. 25.8 acres of wildlife habitat are provided by 30’ field borders on all orchard lands.
In addition, Everett Orchards played a key role in the success of the first pesticide container baling/ag. plastic recycling demonstration held in November of 2008. Triple rinsed, hard #2 plastic was crushed into a 40” 300 pound cube in preparation for shipment to Palmyra, New York for recycling. Tom is currently serving his third three year term as a member of the Clinton SWCD Board of Directors, and has been Vice-Chairman a number of times. He and his brother Bill, and father Dave often open their farm for tours, and are quick to donate apples for a variety of causes.
La Ferme Jean Asnong et Hélène Campbell, Pike River, Québec
The Asnong-Campbell farm is innovative in raising production while cutting costs, such as using less fertilizers and addressing erosion problem. As early as 1984, they started varying row widths when planting corn and using “ridge sowing,” which reduces fertilizer runoff as well as tillage, erosion and pollution. This practice was brought from Ontario to Québec by Jean Asnong.
Jean Asnong is an active member of Dura Club, a local farmers organization that promotes a healthy and sustainable environment and better solutions in manure management. He is also a member of the “cooperative de solidarité du basin versant de la rivière aux Brochets” (Pike River Basin Watershed Group). This group is leading the “lisière verte” (stream buffer) project. Participating in this pilot project, the Asnong-Campbell farm installed a 30-foot buffer strip along waterways for a total surface of 7.95 hectars (19.6 acres). Jean Asnong also organizes field days on his farm, enabling farmers and agronimists to meet and share information about techniques, such as ridge sowing and alternate row corn and soya bean seeding.
Boomhower’s Bittersweet Valley Farm, Fairfield, VT
Gordon “Sonny” Boomhower and his wife Carolyn raised their seven children on their farm along the Chester A. Arthur Road in Fairfield, VT which they purchased in 1966. Through Sonny’s guidance, diversification and conservation have kept their land in agricultural use for future generations. Now a member of the Organic Valley Cooperative, Bittersweet Valley Farm, is a 265 acre organic dairy farm with 50 acres of meadow and 70 acres of rotationally grazed pasture which provide feed for 60 mature Holsteins and young stock. Though Sonny Boomhower passed away in 2008, Carolyn and her two grandsons, Damien Boomhower and Jordan Carpenter enjoy operating their fourth generation dairy farm together.
In addition to supportive family and friends, Carolyn Boomhower credits some of their good fortune to partners who have helped them along the way, providing technical and cost-share assistance. The Boomhowers recently installed a lined manure pit and a roof water diversion system through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. But their additional voluntary efforts to improve and stabilize their farmland are striking.
Bittersweet Valley Farm is located along Wanzer Brook which drains to the Missisquoi River. Voluntary initiatives included fencing cows away from the brook, creating stream crossings, and adopting an intensive rotational grazing system. Rather than grow their own corn, they purchase grain through a Vermont organic grain distributor. The Boomhowers have also partnered with the Missisquoi River Basin Association, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, and the VT DEC River Management Program. Volunteers and staff from these organizations have helped the Boomhowers stabilize 2000’ feet of streambank, restore floodplains and a forested riparian buffer which will benefit both wildlife and water quality.
Sonny and Carolyn Boomhower were also the first Fairfield family to enroll their land in the Vermont Land Trust. By selling their development rights, their farmstead will not be developed thus preserving the land’s agricultural value and character. Through the Boomhowers’ demonstrated community leadership, the Vermont Land Trust has since assisted with the conservation of 22 farms and 7,000 acres throughout the community.
Ferme des Colombettes Inc., St-Alexandre, Québec
In St-Alexandre, Quebec, Eric and Noël Dupasquier operate their dairy farm, Les Colombettes Inc., with the help of two of their sons, Pierre and Guillaume. The Dupasquier farm contains 125 cows and almost the same number of heifers. They cultivate 925 acres, rotating four crops including hay, corn, soybeans and barley.
Over the past decade, the Dupasquier’s have demonstrated their farm leadership by participating in a major windbreak planting effort involving six landowners, and planted 3 kilometers of trees along Lareau brook, a tributary to the Pike River. In 2007-2008, the Dupasquier’s also participated in the Ministry of Agriculture’s buffer strip project, planting a 9 meter wide buffer strip along three kilometres on their farm.
They are members of the sustainable agriculture club Montérégie Sud. The Dupasquier’s developed and utilize a nutrient management plan, paying particular attention to the phosphorus needs within each field. They also have an agroenvironmental plan, a management tool used by many Quebec farmers. Eric and Noël are also members of la Coop de Solidarité du basin versant rivière aux Brochets. Noël Dupasquier also serves the community as a voluntary firefighter.
Remillard Farms, Peru/Plattsburgh, NY
Tim, Tom and Rubin Remillard have been operating their third generation dairy farm, Remillard Farms, on the Little AuSable River since 1949. Originally this farm was a combination apple orchard and dairy. In the 1960’s, the Interstate 87 construction eliminated the orchard, making cows the only source of income.
The Remillards have had the highest Dairy Herd Improvement Association herd average in Clinton County for decades. On their medium sized farm, 455 dairy cows are milked twice daily. They average 32,037 pounds of milk per cow annually, which ranks them fourth for milk production in New York State. They raise their own replacement heifers, as well.
Farming 700 cropland acres in Peru and Plattsburgh, the Remillards grow their own corn silage and haylage on tile drained lands. A Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan dictates the correct manure spreading quantities, location, and timing after soils and manure nutrients are tested. Feed rations are evaluated and balanced often. A concrete manure storage system was built in 1996 utilizing the New York State Agricultural Non-Point Source Pollution Abatement and Control Program. Milking center waste water treatment is handled in its own separate system.
The family enjoys sharing Remillard Farms with local pre-school and elementary school children. They have also hosted visits during North Country agricultural tours to share their strategies with other farmers. The farm has been a cooperator with the Clinton County Soil and Water Conservation District since 1953.
Monument Dairy, Weybridge, Vermont
Monument Dairy, operated by Peter, Robert and John James, is a third generation family farm that provides a vibrant dairy center for Weybridge, VT. The original farm, purchased by Peter’s great grandfather, was 28 acres. Peter’s grandfather bought the farm in 1931, and soon began bottling and selling milk directly to the public. Today the James’ milk about 400 cows and manage approximately 2000 acres in the lower Otter Creek river watershed. Peter’s father and Aunt (2nd generation) are still directly involved with Monument, helping in both the field and processing aspects of the operation.
The long term investment in the processing and bottling allows Monument to serve as a direct wholesaler of Vermont milk to many regional outlets. Monument strives to be environmentally conscientious to enhance the public perception of the farm. A few years ago Monument Farms celebrated its 75th farm reunion with over 3000 people in attendance.
Peter James is the head of the farming operation, responsible for herd management and all field/crop management duties. Robert heads up the commercial side of the business, working to better promote Monument’s outstanding milk quality. John manages the Monument processing and bottling facility, coordinating with local retailers and improving Monuments distribution.
Monument Dairy has been following a nutrient management plan for several years and strives to exceed the state’s regulations regarding water quality. Best management practices are in place for all aspects of the farms waste management systems. The farm continually rotates crops to lower soil erosion, applies manure based on calculated agronomic rates, maintains buffers on all fields along water ways, and continues to look for ways to improve on its overall soil fertility.
The James family has large tracts of land conserved with the Vermont Land Trust, and has conserved development rights on their families barn areas. Peter’s son is currently receiving his bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology/management and hopes to continue the long tradition of conserving and improving wildlife habitat on all of the families’ land. Many of the acres managed by the James family are dedicated to wildlife habitat, wetland conservation, and provide some of the best hunting and fishing areas in the Otter Creek watershed.
Four farms were recognized in 2006 for their exemplary efforts beyond regulatory programs to reduce pollution entering the Lake Champlain watershed. The farm families, nominated by agricultural organizations, were also recognized for their community leader-ship and willingness to share pollution reduction techniques.
Giroux’s Poultry Farm, Chazy, NY
Roger Giroux, along with sons Craig and Willie, operate this third generation poultry operation—the largest in New York with over one million eggs packed daily. Located within the shoreline communities of Champlain, Chazy, Beekmantown, and Plattsburgh, the Giroux’s have taken many steps to reduce impacts to Lake Champlain’s water quality. Feed for the laying hens is evaluated and balanced with phosphorus reduction in mind. Manure is dried on-site and made into certified organic fertilizer grade compost that is delivered to buyers in New York, Vermont, New Hamp-shire, and Maine. Local growers benefit from the Giroux’s custom spreading service, which de-posits compost on farm fields at precise tonnage rates. Much of the grain feed is farm-grown and corn and soybeans are grown in rotation, utilizing reduced tillage techniques on tile drained lands. The Giroux’s have also completed a compre-hensive nutrient management plan that guides manure spreading by field.
Fermes Gasser Ltée, Pike River, Québec
In 1966, Ernest Gasser and family’s dairy and steer farm became the first agricultural com-pany farm in Québec. In the 1980s, they fenced out cows from the river and invested their own funds in a trial methane system utilizing cow ma-nure. A manure spreading management program also reduces chemical fertilizer use. To reduce soil erosion and protect waterways, they installed two kilometers of windbreaks and shrubs. The Gasser family reduces soil impact with their tillage methods and participates in agricultural research. Ernest Gasser is recognized as strong agri-cultural leader in Québec, presenting information to local agricultural and environmental audiences and to the Vermont Citizens Advisory Committee. He has also served as president of the Pike River Cooperative for eight years. Many family members have served as municipal officials and as farmers’ union administrators.
Gosliga Farm, Addison, VT
Jake Gosliga and family operate a beautiful second generation dairy farm highlighted by the dramatic background of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks, with lands that stretch to the Dead Creek wildlife area. Jake was one of only 10 farm-ers to participate in a UVM Extension class that taught farmers to write and implement nutrient management plans. Working with challenging clay soils, Jake rotates crops to lower soil erosion and applies manure based on correct agronomic rates. Well maintained stream buffers and grass waterways on all field ditches reduce pathogen runoff from manure spreading. Manure and milk house waste are directed to a storage pit. The Gosliga Farm has worked extensively with Ben and Jerry’s agricultural soil research program and UVM researchers, providing them with unlimited access to farm fields as they refine the Vermont Phosphorus Index. To improve wildlife habitat and water quality, the farm has designated nesting area for snow geese and main-tains many acres of woodland.
Burtland Farm, Georgia, VT
Jason and Christina Burt have established themselves as leading young farmers, operating a 250 cow free-stall dairy that includes over 1,000 tillable acres along the Georgia shoreline. The farm produces over six million pounds of milk for the St. Albans Co-op. As a founding member of the Farmers’ Watershed Alliance in the north lake, Jason is pro-active in protecting Lake Champlain’s water quality, installing buffer zones along waterways and controlling silage leachate. To encourage other farmers, Jason has spoken at public meetings and has worked with the media to share the techniques used on his farm. The 2006 farm award recipients are known for effectively working with state, federal and pro-vincial agricultural agencies and incorporating many best management practices to protect water quality. While agriculture is a significant source of the Lake’s phosphorus problem, it is important that the LCBP recognize farmers who take extra voluntary steps to reduce pollution. The LCBP thanks the Vermont and New York agriculture agencies, the Vermont Farm Bureau, Clinton County Soil and Water Conservation Dis-trict, the Québec Ministry of Sustainable Develop-ment, Environment and Parks, the Dura Club of Bedford, the Montéregie Sustainable Advisory Club, and the Center de Service du MAPAQ for their assistance in the award nomination process. Additional thanks go to the citizens and organiza-tions who submitted the many nominations.
The Lake Champlain Basin Program announced the first annual Lake Champlain Farm Award recipients for New York, Vermont and Quebec in April 2006. The three farms are located within the 8,234 square mile Lake Champlain watershed which straddles the United States and Canada. The 2005 award recipients include Dimock Farms of Peru, New York, the Conant’s Riverside Farm, LLC, of Richmond, Vermont and Fraisière Rougi et fils, Inc. located in Ste-Sabine, Quebec. Ceremonies were held within each jurisdiction to recognize the recipients before an audience of their peers.
“We sought farms that voluntarily reduced pollution flowing to Lake Champlain and its tributaries,” noted Bill Howland, Lake Champlain Basin Program Manager. “The Dimock, Conant, and Roussel families are all first rate farmers. We applaud their efforts to keep the waters of the Lake Champlain Basin healthy.”
Dimock Farms, Peru, NY
Don and Martha Dimock’s dairy, which they have owned for 35 years, is located on Route 22B in Peru, New York. They awake many mornings to a beautiful sunrise over nearly half a mile of fields with a view toward Vermont’s Green Mountains. As their farm grew from its original 60 cows to more than 250 milkers, their son Bruce became an official farm partner. Their daughter Anne also works on the farm daily, managing the feed operations.
Located in the Little AuSable watershed, the layout of the Dimock Farms has changed since the 1980’s, and now includes a strip cropping system that protects the sandy loam soils. The system was installed without government cost-share funds, utilizing technical assistance from the Clinton County Soil and Water Conservation District. By changing the field layout to run perpendicular to a sensitive wetland, providing grass waterways to filter runoff, and adding an additional filter at the end of the fields, the family protected the nearby wetland. The land is also an ideal location for New York State DEC’s pheasant release program and is often host to many snow geese and Canada geese during migration.
The Dimocks have implemented many best management practices to reduce nutrient, toxin and pathogen runoff to Lake Champlain. They provide a buffer between their tilled soils and the nearby roads and ditches. The Dimocks have a current comprehensive nutrient management plan, and have reduced the amount of phosphorus imported onto the farm through animal feed. Consequently, better management equates to lower levels of phosphorus in the soils and less phosphorus runoff to Lake Champlain.
Fraisière Rougi et fils, Inc, St. Sabine, Quebec
The Fraisière Rougi et fils, Inc has been in business since 1989. Gilbert and Isabelle Roussel and their sons Marc-Andre and Patrick manage the farm. Their crops include strawberries, asparagus, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, peppers, melons, raspberries, sweet corn, onions, potatoes, and grapes. The Roussels have been very good stewards of the land, using reduced tilling, planting windbreaks and shrubs to protect the fields and reduce soil erosion, and leaving a significant buffer between their crops and nearby waterways. They also use mechanical means to control weeds in their sweet corn and use biological controls for insects.
From a community outreach perspective, the Roussels are members of the sustainable agricultural club, Dura Club of Bedford, members of La Cooperative de soildarité du basin versant de la rivière aux Brochets , and participants in Open Door operations of the local farmers union. Being good neighbors, they have also offered technical assistance to other farmers for planting windbreaks.
Conants Riverside Farm, Richmond, VT
David and Deb Conant, Kim and his wife JoAnne Conant, and their families operate a beautiful fifth generation dairy farm. Their large red barns and fields, located on the banks of the Winooski River, are visible from Interstate 89. The Conants’ Riverside Farm incorporates about 1,000 acres of land, with 600 acres of cropland and over 600 animals, including 380 milking cows.
The Conants have implemented many practices to protect the waters of the Winooski River, including vegetative buffers along streams flowing into the river, as well as similar buffers along the riverbanks. They have a modern waste management system and control runoff from the barns and feed storage areas. They work closely with the Natural Resource Conservation Service to implement these practices. In 2005, a Comprehensive Management Plan was developed specifically for the farm that details soil, water and nutrient management practices for the farm.
“We are very honored to be recognized, along with our peers, for our conservation stewardship by the Lake Champlain Basin Program,” states David Conant. “Our commitment to water quality has been and will continue to be an integral part of our dairy operation. We realize the vital role we play in the health of our water quality and are encouraged that the LCBP understands, as we do, that there is a delicate balance between the health of the waters in the Lake Champlain Basin and the economic heath of the farms in this region. We feel strongly that the integrity of both need not be compromised to reach our unified goal of a healthy Vermont.”
Since 1991, the Lake Champlain Basin Program has been working with many organizations and agencies in New York, Vermont and Quebec to reduce phosphorus levels and other pollutants entering Lake Champlain. The three farm award recipients have taken additional voluntary measures to reduce pollutants and manage their farms using environmentally friendly methods. These practices often make sense both ecologically and economically for the farm families. Members of all three families also serve on community and agricultural boards.
The LCBP partnered with the Vermont and New York Departments of Agriculture, the Farm Bureau, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the Quebec Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment, and Parks, the Dura Club of Bedford, Quebec, the Monteregie sustainable advisory club, and the Centre de service du MAPAQ during the farm nomination process.