VHCB’s Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program Awards nearly $900,000 to 38 Farm & Forest Businesses to Improve Water Quality & Long-Term Viability

The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program, a program of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB), announces its 2023 grant awards to working lands entrepreneurs, totaling $897,607.09 to support businesses improvements and improve water quality.

This year, 22 farmers were awarded $755,041.50 to invest in on-farm capital improvements that enhance water quality. Additionally, 16 farm and forest businesses were awarded $142,559.59 to complete projects that support business development and viability.

Colton Cummings and Dani Babbitt operate Hunger Moon Farm in Enosburg Falls, an organic pastured poultry, egg, and goat meat business, which they started in 2018. In 2022, they enrolled in the VT Farm & Forest Viability Program to develop a long-term business plan.

“Working with [the Farm & Forest Viability Program] has made us feel comfortable and confident in our business moving forward.” says Colton.

In 2023, Colton and Dani applied for a grant from the Program to implement their business plan, and received $10,000 towards winter housing to expand their laying flock. With their award, they will build a hoop house that can comfortably fit both of the mobile chicken coops they purchased with an FSA loan. This expansion will allow them to make use of their second mobile coop and double the size of their laying flock to 1,300 hens. 

The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program’s Water Quality Grants are funded by the State of Vermont through Vermont’s Capital Construction and State Bonding Act. This year, $600,000 in Water Quality funds were provided by State of Vermont General Funds through the American Rescue Plan Act, and over $155,000 was funded through Vermont’s Capital Construction and State Bonding Act. Since 2017, the program has awarded more than $4.4 million in Water Quality Grants. In 2023, awards were made to 22 farms in Orleans, Lamoille, Rutland, Addison, Caledonia, Grand Isle, Franklin, and Washington counties. Grants were awarded to both organic and conventional farms, and include cow dairies, a goat dairy, and a custom operator.

These projects will improve manure management and soil health, reduce runoff, minimize feed imports into Vermont, and ultimately support the long-term success of farm enterprises.

The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program’s Implementation Grants help recent program clients implement aspects of their business plan and improve long-term viability. The program provides farm, food, and forest businesses with business coaching, transition planning, and technical assistance through a network of service provider organizations, including the Center for an Agricultural Economy, the Intervale Center, Land for Good, the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA-VT), and UVM Extension Services. This year, $142,559.59 were awarded to 16 businesses in Orange, Lamoille, Rutland, Bennington, Orleans, Franklin, Chittenden, Addison and Windham counties. Grantees represent a variety of working lands businesses in Vermont including livestock, dairy, and diversified produce farms, food processors, and forest products businesses.

2023 Water Quality Grant Awards --$755,041.50 to 22 farms:

Boyden Farm, Cambridge, VT: $40,000 for a no-till planter with banding fertilizer system

Bridgeman View Farm, Franklin, VT: $40,000 for a feed bunk

Bryce Farm Inc., Cambridge, VT: $40,000 for a silage bunk, barnyard, and lined pit

Cornerstone Dairy LLC, Barton, VT: $40,000 for a manure injection system

Four Girls Dairy, Fairfield, VT: $40,000 for a hay merger

John & Tammy Thibeault, Irasburg, VT: $40,000 for a waste storage structure

L.F. Hurtubise and Sons Inc., Richford, VT: $40,000 for a dragline system

McGarry Dairy, Enosburg, VT: $30,175.00 for silage drainage

Morin Farm, Derby, VT: $40,000 for manure storage

Nelson Farms VT LLC, Irasburg, VT: $21,080.68 for a no-till drill

Rainville Bros. Dairy LLC, Enosburg, VT: $40,000 for a feed storage pad

Richville Farms, Whiting, VT: $40,000 for a replacement hoop barn

Riverview Dairy, LLC, Franklin, VT: $40,000 for feed storage

Rogers Farmstead, Berling, VT: $40,000 for a composting manure storage barn

Sanders VI LLC, Swanton, VT: $40,000 for cover cropping equipment

Sawmill Brook Farm, Greensboro, VT: $40,000 for a covered barnyard & manure storage

Shadagee Farm, Craftsbury, VT: $15,125 for manure loading modifications

SVTFarm, Wells, VT: $17,009 for winter livestock shelter and compost site

Sykes Hollow Land and Livestock, Pawlet, VT: $11,651.82 for organic fertilizer equipment

Sylvain Farm LLC, St. Johnsbury, VT: $40,000 for a manure management system

Taconic End Dairy, Leicester, VT: $25,000 for a dairy bedded pack system

Wolf Ridge Dairy, Alburgh, VT: $35,000 for a no-till drill


2023 Implementation Grant Awards—$142,559.59 to 16 farm, food, and forest businesses:

Hunger Moon Farm, Enosburg Falls, VT: $10,000 for laying flock winter housing

Mama’s Farm, Williston, VT: $10,000 for a slaughterhouse and hoop barn

Cobble Creek Nursery, Bristol, VT: $10,000 for a Brillion sure stand seeder

Hillside Farm & Pearce’s Pastured Poultry, West Glover, VT: $6,787 for poultry infrastructure and farm    store set-up

The Goat Project, Bennington, VT: $9,301 for milking system upgrade and cheese-making education

Dorset Peak Jerseys, Danby, VT: $10,000 for cow to sheep infrastructure retrofit

Levy Lamb LLC, West Pawlet, VT: $10,000 for a sheep handling system

Maple Cedar View Farm, Derby Line, VT: $10,000 for a dairy parlor and loose storage

Leaping Bear Farm, Putney, VT: $10,000 for poultry processing equipment

Gevry Firewood LLC, Addison, VT: $10,000 for firewood processor electrification

Stella14 Wines, Cambridge, VT: $9,621.59 for wine processing infrastructure

Endless Tracks LLC, Jeffersonville, VT: $5,834 for a log grapple

VT Vineyards, Underhill, VT: $8,074 for vineyard efficiency equipment

Trout Lily Forestry Services LLC, Westford, VT: $6,794 for maple tubing installation

Fort Waite Farm, Corinth, VT: $8,074 for feed bunk efficiency

Dhaurali Goats, Colchester, VT: $8074 for chicken slaughter facility repair