West Addison, VT – On Saturday, July 28th, more than 2,000 people came to Kayhart Brothers Dairy Farm for a day of excitement, delicious food, and education. It was Vermont Breakfast on the Farm hosted by the Kayhart Family. The free, public event included a pancake breakfast and self-guided tour of the dairy farm. Visitors experienced the life and business of modern dairy farming in the Green Mountain State, led by families like the Kayharts – working to produce a wholesome product for a growing world.
“We know that times are tough right now for many of our dairy farmers,” stated Anson Tebbetts, Commissioner, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, “but people need to remember that farmers are making tremendous investments in their farms to take care of their animals, to take care of our lands. Both the Kayhart Farm and this event are great reminders of the important role dairy plays in this state.”
Fourteen educational stations throughout the farm tour enabled visitors to learn about daily life on the farm. Those included sustainable technologies and practices, including the Kayharts’ state-of-the-art barns which utilize energy efficient lighting, fans, and walls to reduce electrical use and improve cow comfort. Guests also saw farm equipment, learned about how farmers safeguard local waters including Lake Champlain through the use of protective cover crops; and toured the barns where cows have 24-7 access to food, water, and comfortable beds.
Lee and Pat Kayhart moved from New Jersey to Vermont in 1969. Ten years later they purchased their farm near the shores of Lake Champlain. After pursuing other careers, Lee and Pat’s son’s Tim and Steve came home and became partners in the business in the 1990’s. The brothers have ushered in tremendous growth and set the farm up for continued success in the future. Now, the farm spans 2,200 acres and has 1,000 cows.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about dairy farming we wanted to address with our guests at Breakfast on the Farm,” explained dairy farmer Steve Kayhart, “Lake Champlain is right here and we work tirelessly to protect it. From cover cropping to no-till, we do it all. I’m forever an optimist but I’m excited about this industry and excited about what we can contribute to the state of Vermont.”
More than 125 volunteers from the community, many with experience in the dairy industry, joined the Kayhart Brothers Dairy Farm and helped answer visitors’ questions.
The Kayhart family hosted the final Breakfast on the Farm even of 2018. The Gervais Family Farm in Enosburg Falls also hosted a breakfast and farm tour in June, drawing in a crowd of over 1,500.
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, Feed Commodities International, New England Dairy Promotion Board, Poulin Grain, Vermont Farm Bureau, Vermont Feed Dealers & Manufacturers Association, and WOKO.
For more information, visit www.VermontBreakfastonTheFarm.com.
About The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets (VAAFM):
VAAFM facilitates, supports and encourages the growth and viability of agriculture in Vermont while protecting the working landscape, human health, animal health, plant health, consumers and the environment. www.Agriculture.Vermont.Gov and www.VermontDairy.com