Holyoke Farm, St. Albans
Heather and John Brigham, owners of Holyoke Farm, first enrolled in the Viability Program’s business planning services in 2010 when UVM Extension Farm Business Advisor Tony Kitsos helped them in their transition to organic. In 2016, they received a $40,000 Dairy Improvement Grant to renovate their manure pit, adding a synthetic liner. They had been encouraged to renovate the pit in order to comply with Vermont’s Required Agricultural Practices and knew that making these upgrades now was crucial to leaving a viable operation for the next generation. The Dairy Improvement Grant matched funds from state and federal grant programs.
According to John, without assistance from the Dairy Improvement Grant program, the farm would not have been able to afford to implement the project. Now that the project is complete, the Brighams are confident that the renovation has “taken away any question of whether the pit is leaking into the ground water.” They are currently re-enrolled with the Viability Program for intergenerational transfer planning support, working with Sarah Flack, a business planner and grazing consultant with NOFA-VT.