VHCB’s Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program Awards nearly $800,000 to 39 Farm & Forest Businesses to Improve Water Quality & Long-Term Viability

PRESS RELEASE
For immediate release
September 29, 2022

Contact: Liz Gleason, Viability Program Director, VHCB 802-828-2117; @email

VHCB’s Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program Awards nearly $800,000 to 39 Farm & Forest Businesses to Improve Water Quality & Long-Term Viability

The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program, a program of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, announces its 2022 grant awards to working lands entrepreneurs, totaling $797,108 to support businesses improvements and improve water quality.

This year, 19 farmers were awarded a total of $601,368 to invest in on-farm capital improvements that enhance water quality. Additionally, $195,740 in grant awards will support 20 farm and forest businesses with completing projects that advance business development and viability.

Caleb Smith of Dorset Peak Jerseys, 2022 VHCB Water Quality Grantee Caleb Smith of Dorset Peak Jerseys, 2022 VHCB Water Quality Grantee

In South Wheelock, two generations of the Dill Family manage Chandler Pond Farm, a diversified beef operation on land conserved with the Vermont Land Trust. Stewardship is critical to the Dill’s mission, which spurred them to take action to improve water quality by ensuring nutrients are kept in place on the farm. The Dills worked with UVM Extension and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets to replace their earthen barnyard with an innovative woodchip barnyard and received a $7,726 Water Quality Grant to complete the project.

“Our woodchip pad barnyard has significantly reduced feed waste, improved herd health, and helped us streamline labor. It’s allowed us to be responsible stewards of the land and waterways of the customers we directly serve -- all while working towards creating a viable farm business, allowing us to grow and support our family,” Mark Dill shared.

Further south, at Ice House Farm in the hills of Goshen, Morgan and Chad Beckwith milk 64 pasture-raised goats to produce yogurt, kefir, and goat cheese. After nearly doubling their herd in 2019, they enrolled in the VHCB’s Farm & Forest Viability Program to plan for business growth. Working with their advisor, they developed a plan for critical capital investments, improved accounting systems, and worked with mentors in the field to increase production. With a Business Plan Implementation Grant, they were able to upgrade their milking parlor, doubling the amount of goats they can milk at one time. Milking has become much more efficient, the goats are more comfortable, and the quality of their products has improved.

Morgan and Chad shared, “The new parlor was life changing. It’s more effective, easier, and we have more time to notice what the goats need and how we can support them. It’s low stress for them and it’s low stress for us.”

Reflecting on their experience with business advising, the Beckwiths added, “The value of the program is pretty amazing. When we were first going through the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program we were at a critical point where we could have easily thrown in the towel. It was really nice to have support to update our business plan, make sure the operation is healthy, and to keep us focused on our goals.”

The VT Farm & Forest Viability Program’s Water Quality Grants are funded by the State of Vermont through Vermont’s Capital Construction and State Bonding Act. Since 2017, the program has awarded more than $3.8 million in Water Quality Grants. This year, awards were made to 19 farms in Addison, Caledonia, Franklin, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Washington, and Windsor Counties. Grantees include organic and conventional farms, cow dairies, a goat dairy, and livestock operations. These projects will improve manure management and soil health, reduce runoff, and ultimately support the long-term success of farm enterprises.

The VT Farm & Forest Viability Program’s Implementation Grants help recent program clients implement aspects of their business plans and improve long-term viability. The Viability 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 the UVM Extension Service. This year, $195,740 was awarded to 20 businesses in Windham, Washington, Orleans, Orange, Lamoille, Grand Isle, Franklin, Chittenden, Caledonia, and Addison counties. Grantees represent a variety of working lands businesses in Vermont including livestock, dairy, and diversified produce farms, food processors, and forest products businesses.

2022 Water Quality Grant Awards --$601,368 to 19 farms

Severy Farm LLC, Cornwall, VT: $31,966 for a manure management project

 Chimney Point Farm LP, Addison, VT: $40,000 for silage baling equipment

 Champlainside Farms, Bridport, VT: $40,000 for milkhouse gray water reuse

 Ice House Farm, Goshen, VT: $40,000 for covered barnyard for goat dairy

 Sheep Meadow Farm, Danville, VT: $13,000 for farm road and culvert enlargement

 Rainbows Edge Farm, Sutton, VT: $40,000 for a bedded pack facility

 Snug Valley Farm, Hardwick, VT: $40,000 for winter pig housing

 Speedwell Farms, Lyndon, VT: $40,000 for a milkhouse waste project

 Bouchard Family Dairy LLC, Franklin, VT: $10,314 for an injector toolbar

 Moo Acres, Fairfield, VT: $40,000 for a compost bedded pack

 Poulin & Daughter Farm, Brookfield, VT: $40,000 for a manure storage facility

 Sweet Rowen Farmstead, Glover, VT: $23,995 for a farm waste water fertigation gun

 Hill Farm, Greensboro, VT $25,838 for a milkhouse waste project

 Ledgenear Farm, Glover, VT: $38,675 for grazing infrastructure

 Colburns Village View Maples, Glover, VT: $40,000 for sacrifice pasture heavy use mitigation project

 Green Valley Organic, Derby, VT : $40,000 for a concrete storage facility

 Dorset Peak Jerseys Ltd Co., Danby, VT: $38,500 for baleage equipment

Fairmont LLC, East Montpelier, VT: $6,500 for fertilizer equipment

 Richard Shurtleff LLC, Woodstock, VT: $12,580 for rotational grazing infrastructure

 

2022 Implementation Grant Awards—$195,740 to 20 farm, food, and forest businesses

Better Wheel Workshops, Newfane, VT: $10,000 for climate controlled wood storage

Scott Farm Inc., Dummerston, VT: $10,000 for fruit packing equipment

Shat Acres Farm , Plainfield, VT: $10,000 for a barn addition

Old Soul Farm, Barre City, VT: $10,000 for a barn repair and farm store expansion

Fairmont LLC, East Montpelier, VT: $10,000 for a retail space renovation

Sugar Feather Farm, Berlin, VT: $10,000 for hatchery upgrades and repairs

Maple Grove Farm, Derby, VT: $10,000 for a farm utility vehicle

Sweet Rowen Farmstead, Glover, VT: $10,000 for distribution hub infrastructure

Hillside Homestead, Craftsbury, VT: $9,740 for cow stall upgrades

Silloway Maple, Randolph, VT: $10,000 for sugarhouse renovations

Martin Farm, Williamstown, VT: $9,000 for electrical upgrades for the milking barn

Rooney Farm, Morristown, VT: $7,500 for a feed modernization project

Joneslan Farm, Hyde Park, VT: $10,000 for a heifer to goat kid barn conversion

Sandy Bottom Farm, Isle La Motte, VT: $10,000 for a four-season wash-pack station

Moo Acres, Fairfield, VT: $10,000 for a milking parlor

Adams Turkey Farm, Westford, VT: $9,500 for expanding a poultry processing facility