Story and photography by Erica Houskeeper. Original version appears at Happy Vermont's website. All it takes is flour, butter, salt, and water to make a pie crust. But it takes a community to make a difference. Pies for People, now in its eleventh year, is a community-building initiative that brings together volunteers, gleaned local…
Download Appendix B (PDF 18MB)
Vermont’s dairy industry continues to be the foundation of agriculture in the state and new opportunities continue to emerge (e.g., new value added processing facilities such as Commonwealth Dairy and Kingdom Creamery of Vermont).
However, despite the longstanding importance of Vermont’s dairy industry, volatile conventional milk prices, concentration in the dairy industry, rising farm input expenses, and many other factors have impacted its perceived and actual sustainability for at least the past 35 years.
The acceleration of these trends raises the possibility of a tipping point: how many dairy farms can Vermont lose before the viability of production is compromised? What can be done to ensure that Vermont’s dairy industry has a sustainable future?
Appendix B provides a comprehensive exploration of these questions and suggests strategies for improving its sustainability over the next ten years. In particular, we focus on local solutions (e.g., expanding the number of Dairy Management Teams, reducing production costs), regional solutions (e.g., improving and expanding dairy branding and marketing), and national solutions (e.g., revising federal milk pricing policy).
One of the first things you notice at Molly Brook farm is that Rhonda and Myles Goodrich call every single one of their 77 cows by name. “Move along Clover,” or “this way Charlotte” is heard in the milking parlor during the daily milking sessions. The Goodrichs, like so many…
Written by Rachel Carter Published in Small Farm Quarterly Creamy farmstead frozen yogurt in vanilla, chocolate, maple, and coffee flavors is pumped into 300 Cobb HillFrozen Yogurt pints a week—a number that has more than doubled from this time last year. “A year ago, it took us three production days to do what we…
Written by Laura Hardie, New England Dairy Promotion Board Karie Thompson Atherton, 35, is the seventh generation to grow up on her family’s dairy farm in Berkshire, Vermont and always knew she wanted to continue the tradition of dairy farming. “There's definitely easier ways to make a living, but none as fulfilling,"…
Wrtitten by Rachel Carter Published in Small Farm Quarterly Tucked delightfully in the foothills of the Green Mountains along scenic Rte. 100 in Rochester, Vermont, sitsLiberty Hill Farm—a working dairy farm defined by the 1890’s red barn with cupola—one of the most photographed in all of Vermont. Beth and Bob Kennett milk…
Prepared by Carrie Abels for the Financing Cross-Cutting Team Bread & Butter Farm, which straddles the South Burlington/Shelburne border, sells an array of farm products and experiences—everything from grass-fed beef to fresh-baked German bread to winter vegetables to farm-fresh burgers served on Friday evening “Burger Nights.” But the diversity of Bread &…
Written by Caroline AbelsVermont's Local Banquet To understand what the LiLi pasteurizer—conceived and developed in Vermont—could mean to the dairy community of Orange County, New York, I drove to the Hudson Valley in early July and chatted with some longtime dairy farmers.They told me—a few minutes before the ribbon-cutting ceremony that…
Prepared by Alex DePillis, Senior Agricultural Development Coordinator, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets Highlights: 225 kilowatts of installed capacity ● 1.75 million kWh of electricity generated per year ● 7-year payback ● Cow Power farm generates electricity and uses waste heat for greenhouse Download the pdf. Lois and Maurice Maxwell started…
Prepared by Alex DePillis, Senior Agricultural Development Coordinator, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets Highlights: 95 kW (AC) of installed capacity ● ≈120,000 kWh generated annually ● Payback period = 6 years ● Fixed rack solar PV systems and trackers are common throughout Vermont Download the pdf. McKnight Farm, an organic dairy…
Prepared by JJ Vandette, Planning and Development Associate, Efficiency Vermont Highlights: $7,600 in first year savings ● $94,000 in lifetime savings ● 58,300 kWh in annual electricity savings ● Close relationship with the equipment vendor and Efficiency Vermont led to major cost savings and business improvements Download the pdf. Brace Farm Inc. is…
Everyone in the Hardwick area knows the North Hardwick Dairy —“it’s the one on the hill with the wind turbine.” The turbine is evidence of farmer Nick Meyer’s focus on meeting his goal of greater self-sufficiency. “I want to produce everything the farm needs on the farm.” The higher and relatively stable…
Monument Farms Dairy began in 1930 as a home delivery route run by Richard and Marjory James in the Weybridge area. Today, the company is managed by their grandson Jon Rooney and two of his cousins, Bob James and Pete James. And their responsibilities are doled out equally, just as you’d…
Prepared by Alex DePillis, Senior Agricultural Development Coordinator, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets Highlights: 100 kW of installed capacity ● ≈150,000 kWh generated annually ● Unique partnership with Green Mountain Power facilitates community-scale wind energy installation Download the pdf. The Audet Family has operated Blue Spruce Farm since 1958 and currently…
Prepared by JJ Vandette, Planning and Development Associate, Efficiency Vermont Highlights: $150,000 in first year savings ● $2.1 million in lifetime savings ● 1.5 million in annual kWh savings ● Refrigeration system, compressed air system, motors, lighting, heating, and ventilation optimized Download the pdf. When German Company Ehrman AG partnered with Commonwealth Yogurt,…
Written by Jake Claro When you ask people their definition of the Vermont food economy, they’ll often talk about farms, farmers’ markets or CSAs. What’s often missing from the conversation are the supply chain of local businesses such as distributors, food processors and manufacturers, and seed, feed, and equipment dealers. Vermont’s local…
1. Dairy Economics
- James M. MacDonald et al., Profits, Costs and the Changing Structure of Dairy Farming, USDAA Economic Research Report Number 47, September 2007.
- Bob Parsons, "Vermont's Dairy Sector: Is There a Sustainable Future for the 800lb Gorilla?", Opportunities for Agriculture Working Paper Series, Volume 1, Number 4.
2. Organic Milk
- Carolyn Dimitri and Kathryn M. Venezia, Retail and Consumer Aspects of the Organic Milk Market, USDA Economic Research Service, 2007.
- Timothy Dalton et al., "A Comparative Analysis of Organic Dairy Farms in Maine and Vermont: Farm Financial Information from 2004 to 2006." Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station Bulletin Number 851, University of Maine, July 2008.
4. Crop Management
5. Dairy Beef
6. Methane Digesters
7. Historical State Reports
1. Vermont Data
2. Vermont USDA Dairy Data - Farms by County
3. Vermont USDA Dairy Data - Farms by Herd Size
- USDA 1997 Census of Agriculture, Vermont Dairy Farms by Herd Size 1997, Table 51 page 127.
- USDA 2002 Census of Agriculture, Vermont Dairy Farms by Herd Size 2002, Table 59 page 157.
4. Vermont USDA Dairy Data - Farms by Number of Cows
- USDA 1997 Census of Agriculture, Vermont Dairy Farms by Number of Milk Cows 1997, Table 29 page 33.
- USDA 2002 Census of Agriculture, Vermont Dairy Farms by Number of Milk Cows 2002, Table 17 page 20.
5. Vermont USDA Dairy Data - Farms by Size (Acres)
- USDA 1997 Census of Agriculture, Vermont Dairy Farms by Size (Acres) 1997, Table 51 page 127.
- USDA 2007 Census of Agriculture, Vermont Dairy Farms by Size (Acres) 2007, Table 62 page 175.
6. Vermont USDA Dairy Data - Sales
- USDA 2007 Census of Agriculture, Total Sales of Vermont's Agricultural Products by Commodity Group 2007, Table 2 page 9.
- USDA 2007 Census of Agriculture, Vermont Dairy Farm Gains and Losses, Table 62 page 165.
7. Vermont USDA Dairy Data - Income and Assets
- USDA 2007 Census of Agriculture, Percent of Operator’s Household Income from Farming, Table 62 pages 172 and 173.
- USDA 2007 Census of Agriculture, Vermont Agricultural Assets 2007, Table 46 page 37.
8. Vermont Organic Dairy Data
9. Vermont Historical Milk Production
- Appendix B Cover jpg 5MB
- Figure B1: Net Earnings per Hundredweight (CWT) of MIlk, 1977-2012 jpg 111K
- Figure B2: Dairy Farms and Non-Dairy Farms by County, 2007 jpg 238K
- Figure B3: Density of Vermont Dairy Cattle and Milk Production Locations indd 1MB
- Figure B4: Vermont Cow Dairy Farms, 1920-2011 jpg 155K
- Table B1: Number of Dairy Farms by Production System and Size of Farm, 2011 jpg 438K
- Table B2: Vermont Dairy Farm Size, 1997 jpg 309K
- Table B3: Vermont Dairy Farm Size, 2007 jpg 323K
- Figure B5: Vermont Dairy Farms by Size, 1997-2007 jpg 286K
- Table B4: Vermont Dairy Farms by Herd Size, 1997-2007 jpg 402K
- Table B5: Vermont Dairy Farms by Number of Milk Cows, 1997-2007 jpg 452K
- Figure B6: Number of Vermont Dairy Cows and Milk Production, 1927-2012 jpg 184K
- Table B6: Vermont Dairy Production Classes, 2007 jpg 213K
- Figure B7: Northeast Milk Production, 1951-2011 jpg 171K
- Figure B8: Total Sales of Vermont's Agricultural Products by Commodity Group, 2007 jpg 394K
- Figure B9: Sales of Vermont Dairy Products (i.e., Milk and Dairy Cattle), 1969-2007 jpg 136K
- Table B7: Vermont Dairy Farm Gains and Losses, 2007 jpg 183K
- Table B8: Value of Production by Farm Typology, 2007 jpg 1011K
- Table B9: Percent of Operator's Household Income from Farming jpg 457K
- Table B9: Percent of Operator's Household Income from Farming...continued jpg 284K
- Table B10: Vermont Agricultural Assets, 2007 jpg 508K
- Table B10: Vermont Agricultural Assets, 2007...continued jpg 443K
- Figure B10: Per Capita Availability of Dairy Products, 1970-2010 jpg 143K
- Table B11: Dairy Product Availability per Capita and Dietary Guidelines for Vermonters, 2007 jpg 649K
- Table B12: Dairy Product Availability per Capita and Dietary Guidelines for New Englanders, 2009 jpg 902K
- Table B13: Farms by Number of Households Sharing in Net Incomes of Farm jpg 309K
- Table B13: Farms by Number of Households Sharing in Net Incomes of Farm...continued jpg 385K
- Table B14: National Dairy Industry Job Classifications (May 2010) jpg 221K
- Table B14: National Dairy Industry Job Classifications (May 2010)...continued jpg 445K
- Table B14: National Dairy Industry Job Classifications (May 2010)...continued jpg 314K
- Figure B11: Vermont Dairy Production and Processing jpg 171K
- Table B15: Dairy Processing in Vermont jpg 546K
- Table B15: Dairy Processing in Vermont...continued jpg 666K
- Table B15: Dairy Processing in Vermont...continued jpg 621K
- Figure B12: Vermont Dairy Production and Processing Facilities jpg 848K
- Table B16: New England Fluid Milk Bottlers jpg 529K
- Table B16: New England Fluid Milk Bottlers...continued jpg 257K
- Figure B13: Vermont All-Milk Price per CWT, 1960-2012 (adjusted for inflation to 2010 dollars using the fresh processed milk producer price index) jpg 140K
- Figure B14: Class I-IV Prices per CWT for Northeast Milk Marketing Order, 2000-2010 jpg 211K
- Figure B15: Northeast Net Earnings per Cow (adjusted for inflation to 2010 dollars using the fresh processed milk producer price index) jpg 343K
- Table B17: Dairy Price Stabilization Programs jpg 309K
- Table B18: Results of Three Proposed Milk Price Stabilization Programs jpg 413K
- Table B19: Anaerobic Digester Sites in Vermont jpg 475K
- Table B19: Anaerobic Digester Sites in Vermont...continued jpg 520K
- Table B19: Anaerobic Digester Sites in Vermont...continued jpg 244K