EAST MONTPELIER — Blue skies and green rolling hills were the backdrop for the third annual Breakfast on the Farm event hosted by the Hall, Purchase and Ayer families at Fairmont Farm in East Montpelier. On June 17th, the families opened their farm to the public to showcase what farmers do to produce local, wholesome food in Vermont.
The free, public event included a pancake breakfast and self-guided tours of the dairy farm, which was recently named Vermont’s 2017 Outstanding Dairy Farm of the Year. Their excellence in dairy farming was on display Saturday as a record crowd of 1,200 people attended the breakfast and farm tour. Visitors got a peek into the life and business of dairy farming in Vermont – home to over 850 dairy farms that make 63% of the milk for New England, according to USDA data.
“Breakfast on the Farm is one way we can help ensure future generations of Vermonters maintain a connection to the land and an appreciation for the importance of agriculture in our state,” Anson Tebbetts, Vermont’s Secretary of Agriculture noted. “Agriculture lives at the core of our culture and economy. Vermont continues to be a national leader thanks to its unwavering commitment to quality, integrity and sustainability.”
Educational stations throughout the farm tour enabled visitors to learn about daily life on the farm, including sustainable technology and practices. Attendees also saw farm equipment, learned about how farmers protect our waters, and toured the barns seeing that cows have constant access to food, water, and comfortable beds. They also learned about how calves are raised, and had the chance to see a calf being born.
As Vermont’s 2017 “Outstanding Dairy Farm of the Year”, Fairmont Farm has demonstrated a dedication to their herd, pasture, crop management, environmental practices, advancing agriculture and giving back to their local community. Created in 1947 in New Hampshire, the award is managed by the New England Green Pastures Program.
“Being named Vermont Dairy Farm of the Year is a true honor. Vermont’s dairy industry is full of hardworking farm families that care about their animals and land, we are very proud to represent both our industry and state,” said Clara Ayer, a third-generation farmer at Fairmont. “In addition, hosting Breakfast on the Farm has been a great way for us to share our story. We want to help our community understand that Vermont’s high-quality dairy products come from the deep appreciation we have for our animals.”
Fairmont Farm consists of three separate locations, two in East Montpelier and one in Craftsbury. They milk 1,500 cows and care for over 3,600 acres of land. Nearly 100% of their land is planted without tilling the soil, which allows important nutrients to stay in the soil and prevents run-off into local waterways. Forty full and part time employees work on the farm, which provides 13,850 gallons of milk a day to the Cabot Creamery Co-operative facility in Cabot, Vermont.
In 1992 Fairmont Farm was formed when three family dairy farms came together. The newly formed farm allowed for the transition of operations and the business to the third generation of family members. Today, Fairmont is owned by Richard and Bonnie Hall and Tucker Purchase.
More than 100 volunteers from the community, many with experience in the dairy industry, joined Fairmont Farm staff and helped answer visitors’ questions about farming practices.
Vermont Breakfast on the Farm is made possible by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets and the agricultural business community including Bourdeau Brothers, Cabot Creamery Co-operative, Casella Waste Systems, High Mowing Organic Seeds, New England Dairy Promotion Board, Poulin Grain, Vermont Farm Bureau, Vermont Feed Dealers & Manufacturers Association, Vermont Smoke & Cure, and WOKO.
For more information, visit www.VermontBreakfastonTheFarm.com.
—Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets
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