VanderWey and DeVries receive ag. awards

VERGENNES/FERRISBURGH — Since 2005, the Vermont Land Trust has been recognizing outstanding high school juniors and seniors who are studying the fields of agriculture and forestry. This year, senior Raymond VanderWey of Vergennes Union High School and Cody DeVries of the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center received the Land Stewards Award from the land trust in recognition of their agricultural studies and work, along with a check for $250.
VanderWey was nominated for the award by his Agriculture teacher Bill Van De Weert, who taught him in three classes: Welding and Electricity, Small Engines, and Tractor and Equipment Operations. “He is very observant, and takes time to do his work well,” said Bill.
VanderWey lives in Ferrisburgh and helps his family crop 300 acres of hay. The VanderWeys sell the majority of their hay to local farmers and people with horses, and use the rest to feed the young beef and dairy cows that they raise as replacement farm animals and pets.
“I have witnessed Raymond working long days, trying to get the hay baled before an impending rainstorm,” said Bill. “He takes pride in putting up good quality hay.” He also works for Deer Valley Farm, a dairy with 600 acres of grass and legumes and 500 acres of corn.
RAYMOND VANDERWEY OF Ferrisburgh shakes hands with Vermont Land Trust’s Allen Karnatz when he received the VLT Land Steward award on May 16. VanderWey was tapped for the award because of his outstanding work in his agricultural studies.
Photo courtesy Vermont Land Trust
DeVries grew up on his family’s dairy farm in Addison, learning the trade from his grandfather. The land is no longer a dairy, and Cody has been helping to raise beef cattle there now. He is also building a maple sugaring operation on the property, investing time and money into this new business venture.
“Cody is very attached to this land,” said his Agriculture Instructor, Janice Bosworth, who nominated Cody for the Land Stewards Award. “He loves the farm and sees it as a valuable resource that he intends to use and manage as he graduates and moves on to young adulthood.” This year, Cody was inducted into the National Technical Honor Society for his academic achievement in Sustainable Agriculture.
 “The Vermont Land Trust is grateful that young people like Raymond and Cody are choosing to work hard, and build skills, to maintain and manage the working landscape,” said Nick Richardson, president of the land trust. “They represent the future of innovative and thoughtful land stewardship, which is to the benefit of all Vermonters.”
The Vermont Land Trust protects farms and forests from commercial and residential development, so that fertile soils and forestland can continue to support a vibrant working economy. The Land Stewards Award celebrates the dedication of young people who will continue to steward Vermont’s working landscapes.
VanderWey and DeVries have both been actively involved in Vermont FFA throughout high school. VanderWey has participated in competitions for Dairy Cattle Judging and Safe Tractor Operation, and DeVries has competed in Soil Evaluation, Dairy Products, and Agricultural Mechanical Science.
DeVries is thinking about ways to diversify income streams from the family property. He has ideas for the land including re-designing the old dairy barn, setting up a rotational grazing system, and improving the soil’s productivity while minimizing erosion and run-off.
Allen Karnatz of the Vermont Land Trust presented the award to each student at their families’ farms on May 16.
After graduation this year, VanderWey will seek a job as a diesel technician working on farm equipment. He plans to continue helping his family hay. DeVries has a job with a local crop farmer and a custom fieldwork operator, and plans to pursue the diesel mechanics program at the University of Northwest Ohio.

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