An award from the Keep Local Farms Fund is being used by two Vermont farmer organizations, The Champlain Valley Farmer Coalition (CVFC) and DairyVision Vermont, to help Vermont farmers protect water quality with recommended new practices and technology improvements.
The $45,000 to CVFC and $12,500 to DairyVision Vermont in scholarship aid is part of awards totaling $104,900 in grants to dairy-related education and other initiatives across New England.
CVFC will use the funds primarily to help farmers learn about new ways to protect and enhance water quality in the state. CVFC is a non‐profit organization dedicated to preserving the quality of the environment while maintaining a strong farm economy in Vermont.
“As stewards of the land, farmers continually look for innovative ways to protect and conserve the environment,” said Brian Kemp, President of CVFC. “These funds will allow us to hire a staff person to visit farms and provide personal outreach to increase awareness about new methods and technologies they can use to protect our waterways.”
Dairy Vision Vermont will also be a resource for farmers to learn how to best protect water quality. DairyVision is a non-profit organization that provides Vermont’s dairy farmers with the business skills and guidance needed to create successful dairy operations.
“We’ll use the Keep Local Farms funding to help dairy farmers navigate the changing water quality regulations in Vermont,” said DairyVision director, Jackie Folsom, “We would like to be a conduit of information – through forums, meetings and workshops.”
Folsom said that farms also face challenges with human resources, and that the funds will also be used to provide one-on-one meetings or consultations to assist dairy farmers with hiring and retaining employees, organization of their staff, and more, so to find the best practices for their individual circumstances.
“New England dairy farmers are focused on continuous improvement and that includes enhancing the sustainability of their farms,” says Jenny Karl, of the New England Dairy Promotion Board, which created the fund that is administered through the Vermont Community Foundation.
“The Keep Local Farms Fund grants provide funding to New England non-profits that support the education of New Englanders as well as future and current dairy farmers. The goal is to support the long-term sustainability of the New England dairy sector as a whole.”
Other 2016 Keep Local Farms Fund recipients include:
Farm Fresh Rhode Island -- To promote the consumption of dairy products in cafeteria settings through their inclusion in a new Harvest of the Month program.
Land for Good -- To support outreach, training and direct farm transfer planning and succession advising to dairy farms in New England, with an emphasis on farms in Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Third Sector New England -- Will incorporate dairy promotion into New England-wide Harvest of the Month efforts, including sessions at its next Summit.
University of New Hampshire Foundation -- Financial aid for students in the Applied Animal Science Dairy Management program at the UNH Thompson School of Applied Sciences
The Keep Local Farms Fund donors include Agri-Mark/New England Family Dairy Farms Co-op; Cooperative Development Institute; Dean Foods Company; HP Hood; Massachusetts Dairy Industry Promotion; MooVM; Sigma Alpha Professional Ag Sorority at the University of New Hampshire; the Vermont Ski Areas Association; and the Woodstock Foundation.
Boston University, St. Michael’s College, Harvard University, and the University of Vermont have also been significant contributors to the Keep Local Farms Fund.