We are farmers. We know that some of the best things in life start with a single seed, and with care and cultivation, can flourish into something much larger and grander.
And so it can be said of us. We started as a little seed of an idea between a handful of farmers in 2012. With the help of UVM Extension staff in Middlebury, Vermont and a Conservation Innovation Grant from Vermont Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), we became the Champlain Valley Farmer Coalition.
Our purpose is to assist all farmers in implementing innovative agricultural practices that enhance water quality, soil health, climate smart farming, and their economic resiliency in the Champlain Valley.
We accomplish this through a positive, unified voice that provides targeted education and outreach to farmers and the public; advocates on behalf of farmers’ environmental interests; and collaborates with community partners to achieve common goals.
Since our inception, we have worked tirelessly to grow our membership, participate in difficult conversations around agriculture, water quality, and soil health, and educate each other and our communities.
The partnership between the Coalition and UVM Extension’s Champlain Valley Crop, Soil & Pasture Team has proven to be a powerful alliance that has been a catalyst for action and change in Addison, Chittenden, Rutland, and Washington County farming communities. Many farms have begun adopting new and innovative practices that benefit the environment while proving they can also benefit the farm business. In addition, the Coalition has become an organization that is seen as a voice for farmers in the watershed and is often relied on to give input to governmental organizations and watershed groups.
But that’s just the surface of our story. Our love for the lake, the land, and the communities we live in is embodied by each of our members. We invite you to learn more about what they are doing on their farms to protect water quality and soil health today and for future generations.
Caleb Smith, Dorset Peak Jerseys
Caleb operates Dorset Peak Jerseys in Danby. He works mostly by himself, so capital invested wisely to make his days more productive and to achieve water quality improvements is important to him. Read more
Rob & Suzy Hunt, Bonaspecta Holsteins
Rob & Suzy Hunt own and operate Bonaspecta Holsteins in Addison, Vermont. Anyone who has ever been to their farm or talked with Rob knows that they take a very pragmatic approach to farming. Read more
Ray & Donna Brands, Deer Valley Farms
If you ask Ray Brands, he’ll say that award-winning crops start with the soil. “You’ve got to take care of it,” according to Ray. For him that means managing water with bedded fields and tile drainage, good nutrient management, fertility, and organic matter. Read more
Brian Kemp, Mountain Meadows Farm
“We strive to educate other farmers, the general public, and state and federal agencies on the good things that are happening on our farms daily.” Read more
Loren Wood, Woodnotch Farms
Loren originally joined the Coalition because he wanted to do his part to make Lake Champlain cleaner for his grandchildren. Read more