Agriculture

As Kevin Sullivan slowly rumbles his pickup truck across his 60 acres of property near the Connecticut-Massachusetts border, he leans in and asks a question: What’s farmland?

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

A new study led by a University of Vermont researcher finds that the majority of farmers say the cost of health insurance is a top concern for the viability of their business.

Howard Weisss-Tisman / VPR

Vermont grass-fed beef is in high demand, and if the market wants to continue to grow, there will have to be better collaboration in the industry.

Robbie Clark stands with some of his herd of milking cows in Ira. To avoid foreclosure, Clark and his mother, Mary Saceric-Clark, are selling their cows and farm equipment at a public auction on July 8.
Nina Keck / VPR

A sign out front the Milky Way Farm in Ira declares it a "Dairy of Distinction." But another sign may soon read "For Sale," as the family farm is facing foreclosure and must sell its equipment and cows at a public auction on July 8.

Janet and Jay Bailey, of Fair Winds Farm in Brattleboro, have operated a diversified horse-powered family farm for more than 40 years. The farm’s previous owner had donated the land to Earthbridge Community Land Trust, who later leased the land to the Baileys. In 2011, looking toward aging but wanting to ensure this land continue to be farmed, they formed an untraditional partnership.

We're talking about challenges and opportunities for Vermont farmers with Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts.
U.S. Department of Agriculture / flickr

The economy and the environment are changing quickly. How can Vermont's agricultural sector best adapt to keep up? As VPR explores the shifting landscape for Vermont farms, we're talking to Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts about the challenges and opportunities faced by our state's farmers.

John Silloway, David Silloway and Paul Lambert all have a hand in running their family's farm.
Courtesy: Silloway Farms

The number of dairy farms in Vermont continues to decline, with around 805 in business this spring.

While large farms, with more than 700 cows, are a growing sector of the dairy economy, small operations with fewer than 200 animals still make up 80 percent of the state’s dairy farms.

Cows on the Orr family's dairy farm, in Orwell, are pictured in this 2015 file photo. Anson Tebbetts, Vermont's agriculture secretary, spoke to VPR recently about Vermont's dairy industry and about challenges faced by the state's farmers.
Kathleen Masterson / VPR file

When Anson Tebbetts became Vermont's agriculture secretary earlier this year, he conducted a statewide listening tour to hear from farmers about the challenges they have been facing.

Dannyone / iStock

With frequently wet and cool weather in Vermont this spring and summer, that's meant farmers have had to play catch up when it comes to planting crops and harvesting hay.

Abel Luna leads protestors in a chant outside the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility where one of the dairy workers is being held.
Kathleen Masterson / VPR

Activists gathered outside the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility Monday morning to protest the arrest of two Vermont dairy farmworkers originally from Mexico.

Lucas Benitez stands with other Coalition of Immokalee Workers members at the People's Root Cause March in 2004. Vermont advocates hope to use a strategy similar to the Coalition's to improve pay and working conditions for migrant dairy workers.
Courtesy / Coalition of Imokalee Workers

Migrant Justice and other advocates for Vermont dairy workers plan to march in protest on Saturday in an effort to pressure Ben & Jerry's to come to an agreement on wage negotiations. 

Never mind that the snows had melted and the first green spears of new growth had pushed up to announce spring’s arrival. For weeks the entire state of Vermont had been held in the messy grip of an extended cold and rainy season.

Ahead of the June 15 deadline, four groups working to preserve a scenic 22.5-acre property at Exit 4 in Randolph have raised the $1 million necessary to purchase the land.

Angela Evancie / VPR

If you drink Vermont milk, or eat Vermont apples or vegetables, it's likely that you have foreign workers to thank. But do you know any?

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Maple syrup producers have an ever-growing arsenal of high-tech tools to draw more and more sap out of the trees. Now, scientists at the University of Vermont are doing a long-term study to see if modern tapping systems are affecting the health of maple trees.

The 22-acre parcel provides travelers with a sweeping view of the mountains. one of the most scenic along Interstate 89.
Steve Zind / VPR

An effort to preserve a piece of land at the Randolph interstate exit is much closer to its goal after a flurry of commitments from several large donors.  

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has delayed implementation of a federal rule that would make stricter standards governing organic egg production. 

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Without a federal education program that offers academic and emotional support to disadvantaged students pursuing a bachelor's degree, Kara Polito says she would have dropped out of college.

Steve Zind / VPR

Beau Butchery and Bar, which opened in Montpelier in December, is yet another example of the growth of the local food movement. It’s also an effort to recapture the tradition of the neighborhood butcher shop.

Rebecca Sananes / VPR

What happens to the Vermont dairy industry if migrant workers are deported? That was the question being answered at a community forum in Hardwick on Wednesday night.

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