Dispatches from the Hill — vermont RSS



Stockpiling Grass for Early Spring Grazing

Last season, the sheep grazed our South Meadow in mid June, and instead of mowing and baling the second growth in August or September, we let that grass stand and go into winter.  About two weeks ago, we brought the sheep out of their winter paddocks and started them back on their grazing rotation in the South Meadow. There was no hint of green growth yet—the snow had just melted and the grasses were all brown and dormant looking. But the sheep were eager to leave their winter digs and start foraging, and they happily dove into their work. This before and after image shows the dense, stockpiled grass ahead of grazing, and the cleared grass afterward. The thick cover...

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2017's Vermont Regenerative Soils Program

I'm excited to tell you that, earlier this month, Senator Campion introduced a revised and updated version of our regenerative soils bill to the Vermont legislature. The bill is S.43: An act relating to establishing a regenerative soils program. (Full text here.) It is currently with the Senate Commitee on Natural Resources and Energy, and is co-sponsored by Senators Sears, Bray, Clarkson, Pearson, and Pollina. Healthy Land, Healthy Profits I don't play politics. If I had my way, most days I'd never leave the farm. The reason I've written and proposed this legislation—with the help of many people smarter than I am—is simple: I believe it is in the interest of all Vermonters to rebuild an agricultural economy that uses...

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Personal Thoughts on the Upcoming Vermont Regenerative Soils Program Legislation

Today, Senator Brian Campion will introduce to the Vermont Legislature our second attempt at a bill that, if passed, would incentive the responsible stewardship of our state's ecosystems through the regeneration of our state's soils. I'm immensely proud of this bill and will publish a post tomorrow with the nitty-gritty details and text. For now, though, I offer only a few of my thoughts on why this bill is incredibly important for Vermont, for Vermont farmers, and for Vermont's future generations. On Vermont Farm Economies Vermont farmers are the heroes of this state. They've been able—under decades of incredible economic and regulatory pressures—to keep Vermont farmland working and open to the benefit of all Vermonters. Unfortunately, Vermont farmers and farmers...

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The Regeneration at Studio Hill: A Slideshow

I had the pleasure of presenting the story of our farm—from it's roots as a dairy in the '30s right up to it's current iteration as a regenerative farm—at this year's Vermont Energy & Climate Action Network (VECAN) Conference at the beautiful Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, Vermont. I was joined in our workshop by Didi Pershouse of the Soil Carbon Coalition and Andrea Colnes of the Energy Action Network. Our session was put together by Paul Cameron. Our workshop presented the side of climate change that you don't often here in today's discussions: hope and practical action. Didi did a wonderful job explaining and demonstrating why it is vital for us to include soil as an ally in our fight against climate...

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Our Public Comment on Vermont's Required Agricultural Practices

We submitted the following letter to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets on the last day that they were accepting public comment on the Required Agricultural Practices—or RAPs. Now that the rule has been formally submitted by the Agency, we thought we'd publish our final comments. See the bottom of this post for an explanation of the featured "before" image (above), and the "after" image (at the bottom). Hello. First I’d like to thank you for taking on the monumental task of addressing the water quality and environmental degradation issues facing Vermont. As a farmer, this issue is of paramount importance to me, my business, and the future of our state. If we stand idly by and allow the...

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