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Meet Vermont's Outstanding Land Stewards

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Kids, Cows, and Conservation at Vermont's Chapman Dairy Farm

Chapman Family FarmsTucked in-between rolling green hills carved by the winding first branch of Vermont’s White River,  pastures are small in this verdant valley. It isn’t hard to imagine the echoed clacking of hoofs over the wooden covered bridge that still acts as the sole access to this farm’s narrow green pasture. Two years ago, Tunbridge-born, military veteran, beginner farmer, Corey Chapman and his wife Ann bought this 200-acre organic dairy farm to start Chapman Family Farms. Read their inspiring story here

First Generation Vermont Dairy Farmer Protects Soil and Water Quality in East Creek Watershed

Farmer Jon Lucas modified his no till planter which he discusses with NRCS' George TuckerOverlooking the southernmost shores of Vermont’s beloved Lake Champlain lies Lucas Dairy Farm. Managed by a first generation Vermont farm family, the Lucas' are leasing this land they now call home. And just below the farm’s hillside location lies a rustic wooden barn, its roof bearing the date of construction, 1880, revealing the rich history of this lakeside landscape. Over the course of 138 years, multiple generations of farmers have tended this Champlain valley landscape. And now, dairy farmer Jon Lucas is working hard to balance sustainability and profitability. Read the story here

A Tale of Two Vermont Farms: Farmers in Pike and Rock River Watersheds Make a Difference with Conservation

The Benjamin and A tale of two farms in VermontFiske families of Vermont embraced conservation on their operations. The Friends of Northern Lake Champlain (FNLC), through an agreement with Vermont NRCS, is conducting outreach and education in the Pike and Rock River Watersheds to ramp up conservation implementation. These two families were early adopters of conservation and both are involved in their local watershed action groups. Read more about their exemplary stewardship here.

Plew Farm in Mount Holly-Vermont Military Veteran Grows Greener Pastures

Kevin Plew protected the United States through his service in the Coast Guard and the National Guard. Today he protects and improves the natural resources on his grass-based farm in Mounty Holly, Vermont.

The Plew Family of Mount Holly VermontKevin Plew set two life goals at a very young age. He wanted to be a farmer and he wanted to live in Vermont.  Plew spent time on his grandfather’s small farm and helped him with the chores. “I loved everything about it,” he reflects. Born and raised in Albany, New York, he had dreams of moving to Vermont one day to operate his own farm. Throughout childhood, his family enjoyed day trips to Mount Snow in southern Vermont’s Green Mountains. “It took me a long time to get here,” he laughs as he recalls the events of his life that eventually led him to Mount Holly, Vermont. Read more.

Des Marais Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE)

The Des Marais family enrolled part of their farm acreage in NRCS' ACEP-WRP programThere’s a special place in Vermont where the Otter Creek meanders through pastures and grasslands and a diversity of wildlife thrives. The Nature Conservancy considers the Otter Creek Swamp to be the most biologically diverse wetland in New England.  The Otter Creek Watershed flows to Lake Champlain and is home to many wetlands which were restored thanks to the stewardship of private landowners. These vulnerable wetlands, once altered by farm ditches, are now safeguarded by permanent easements that ensure the protection of these critical ecosystems. The participating landowners partnered with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to enroll wetland acreage into the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). The Wetlands Reserve Easement (WRE) component of ACEP offers financial and technical assistance to landowners who want to voluntarily restore and protect wetlands. Jim and Lyn Des Marais restored and protected nearly 500 acres of wetland acreage on their farm in Brandon, Vermont. The easement is the state's largest. Read more about the Des Marais Wetland Reserve Easement.

Guy Choiniere Family Farm

Guy ChoiniereGuy Choiniere is a third generation farmer on his family farm in Highgate , VT. Guy's farm recently made the transition to organic, and he gets plenty of help from his two children who also work on the farm. NRCS helped Guy solve his waste run-off and cattle lane issues. With the help of NRCS Guy is now doing his part to help keep the river that runs through his property clean.

Read the interview with Guy Choiniere.

Download a zip file containing a .htm file and a .wmv file of the interview with Guy Choiniere. 

 Mimmy Arnstein: Wellspring Farm

Mimmy ArnsteinMimmy Arnstein operates a small community supported agriculture farm in Marshfield , VT. Mimmy deals with approximately 130 families who get their produce from her land each week. NRCS installed tile drainage on Mimmy's property because her soil was not very well drained. She now has over three acres that have been tiled thanks to NRCS' help.

Read the interview with Mimmy Arnstein. 

Download a zip file containing a .htm file and a .wmv file of the interview with Mimmy Arnstein.. 

Patty Hart-Ahonen: Eniskerry Farm

Patty Hart-Ahonen

Patty operates a horse farm in Colchester , VT and was running into problems with the grasses in her pastures. NRCS helped install extensive fencing on her property which allowed her to rest several paddocks and give her quality grasses time and space to grow. NRCS also installed water tubs and pipelines, making her land better for the horses and the environment.

Read the interview with Patty Hart-Ahonen

Download a zip file containing a .htm file and a .wmv file of the interview with Patty Hart-Ahonen.  

 Jon Branon: Nestle Nook Farm

John BranonJon is the fifth generation on the family farm in Fairfield , VT which has been in his family for over 100 years. Jon wanted to address the driveways and animal trails on his land as well as his manure pit. NRCS helped redesign his manure pit with a concrete bottom and even did some leachate containment work around his bunker silos.

Read the interview with Jon Branon

Download a zip file containing a .htm file and a .wmv file of the interview with Jon Branon.