Know a great dairy farmer? Nominate them for an award

VERMONT — Agricultural organizations, businesses and individuals are invited to submit nominations for the 2019 Vermont Dairy Farm of the Year Award. Nominations must be received by April 26.
The award is presented annually by University of Vermont Extension and the Vermont Dairy Industry Association (VDIA). Nominated farms are evaluated on their herd, pasture and crops management; milk production; land stewardship and environmental practices; commitment to promoting the dairy industry; and overall excellence in dairying, among other criteria. Judges are past award winners.
Any farm that was nominated previously, but did not win, may be nominated again. To submit a nomination or learn more about the program and past recipients, head online to go.uvm.edu/vdfya. Or call Peggy Manahan, toll-free, at 1-800-639-2130 to request a nomination form.
The award is an outgrowth of the New England Green Pastures Program, which started in 1947 as a challenge by then Gov. Charles Dale of New Hampshire to the other New England governors as to which state had the greenest pastures. A Connecticut farmer earned bragging rights that first year out of 3,000 entries.
In 1961 selection of a regional winner was eliminated with each state recognizing its own outstanding dairy farm instead. The focus also shifted from pasture quality to total farm management.
The six state winners each receive an engraved silver pitcher at an awards banquet at Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Mass., in September. The Vermont winner also is honored at the dairy farmer luncheon at the Vermont Farm Show in Essex Junction and the VDIA annual meeting.
Aires Hill Farm, a 400-head Holstein farm in Berkshire, owned by Karie Thompson Atherton, was named the 2018 Vermont Dairy Farm of the Year. In 2017 honors went to Fairmont Farm, a 1,600-head Holstein operation with farms in East Montpelier and Craftsbury, owned by Richard and Bonnie Hall and their nephew Tucker Purchase.

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