Dairies of Distinction: Farms put the best face on Vt. dairy

VERMONT — The Vermont Agency of Agriculture recognized 140 dairy farms as “Dairies of Distinction” at the annual luncheon hosted at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex this past Thursday. Twenty-seven of those farms, or about one-fifth of the total, are in Addison County.
The Vermont Dairy of Distinction Program was developed to recognize farms that maintain a well-kept farmstead. Agency of Agriculture officials say attractive dairies give the consumer greater confidence in the wholesomeness of milk, stimulate milk sales, and encourage public support for the dairy industry.
Dairy of Distinction judges look at the cleanliness, physical condition, and uniform appearance of buildings; neat and appropriate landscaping; well-graded roads and lanes; fences in good repair; neat ditches that are free of debris; cleanliness of animals; neat barnyards; clean roads free of mud and manure; manure storage facilities out of view; farm machinery that is parked in an orderly fashion; no apparent pollution of streams; clean feed areas; and all unnecessary machinery stored out of sight.
Two new farms were recognized for the first time in 2014 as Dairies of Distinctions. They are the Lazy Dog Farm in Orwell and the Gervais Family Farm No. 2 run by Charles, Lawrence, Clement and Paul Gervais in Enosburg Falls.
Jesse and Stefanie Wilbur founded Lazy Dog Farm in 2010 and began operating in a beautiful spot off Royce Hill Road in Orwell in 2011. The farm’s 40 milkers — mostly Jerseys — are certified organic. The Wilburs, who have a daughter and a son, come from a dairy heritage; Jesse’s father is Larry Wilbur of Whiting.
According to the farm website, the Wilburs started the Lazy Dog with a dream, five Jersey calves, and a loan for $1,000. They traded cleaning, feeding and milking chores for space in a neighbor’s barn and feed. They own their own barn, which can accommodate 50 milking cows, and 70 acres for grazing.
Beyond operating a website, the couple use both cutting-edge and traditional practices to make their farm a success. In addition to selling organic milk, which brings a higher gate price than conventional milk, the Wilburs sell free range/cage-free eggs; organic, grass-fed hamburger; and natural raised pork. They sell animals, such as the registered organic Jersey male calf currently for sale. They also rent out their space for weddings and barn dances.
Stefanie Wilbur said she filled out the application for the Dairy of Distinction recognition to honor her husband.
“He works so hard to make this place look so good and leave a good impression that I wanted him to get some credit,” she said.
Farms that earn the Dairy of Distinction award receive a sign to display at their farmstead, an invitation to the luncheon at the Champlain Valley Exposition, and tickets to attend the fair. The Dairy of Distinction program is funded by the Vermont Dairy Promotion Council and administered by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. Volunteers are recruited to judge farms on an annual basis.
Dairies of Distinction 2014 in Addison County
Allandra Farm Inc.                  Allan H. Brisson                            Vergennes
Blue-Spruce Farm                   Ernest, Earl & Eugene Audet               Bridport
Bolduc Farm Inc.                   Paul Bolduc                                 New Haven
Chalker Farm                         Brian and Cindy Kayhart                  Vergennes
Cher-Mi Farm                        Miles & Cheryl Tudhope                      Orwell
Clifford Farm                         Eric & Jane Clifford                        Starksboro
Crazy Acres Farm                   Wayne Stearns                               Vergennes
Gosliga Farm                         Gerardies Gosliga                              Addison
Hog’s Back Mountain Farm      Leslie E. Rublee                            Starksboro
Kayhart Brothers LLC             Steve and Tim Kayhart                      Addison
Kimball Brook Farm               John & Susan DeVos               No. Ferrisburgh
LaDuc Acres                          Barbara LaDuc                                    Orwell
Ledge Haven Farm                  Thomas and Michael Audet                   Orwell
Men-Da Farm                        David & Melanie Carmichael            Vergennes
Monument Farms                   Peter James                                   Weybridge
Nea-Tocht Farm                     Van Der Wey Family                     Ferrisburgh
Nop Brothers Farm                 Gerrit & Hank Nop                          Salisbury
Nor-Dic Farm Inc.                  Richard and Linda Thurber                   Panton
Rail View Dairy Farm             Philip Livingston                          New Haven
Raplip Farm                          Wayne & Jeannine Partridge                  Orwell
Roorda Farm                         Richard & Jodie Roorda                   Vergennes
Rusty-John Farm                    John E. Forgues                                Addison
Sabourin Farm                       Gerard & Judy Sabourin                   Shoreham
Scapeland Farm                      Jim and Cindy Crawford                     Whiting
Weybridge Farms Inc              Robert & Phyllis Bowdish              Weybridge
Woodnotch Farms                  Wood Family                                 Shoreham
The Lazy Dog Farm                Jesse and Stefanie Wilbur                      Orwell
For a complete listing of Vermont’s Dairies of Distinction, visit www.vermontdairy.com.

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