Alison Lussier, 23-year-old daughter of Paul and Kari Lussier, was five when her family conserved their farm in Benson. Starting the dairy came with challenges, but Alison remembers her childhood as the best years of her life.
Alison was barely aware that her family’s dairy farm was conserved until she was about twelve. “I remember I started asking why the cows couldn’t go certain places, like in the river, and being told it was because the land is conserved,” says Alison.
After working on the farm part-time for several years, Alison is now full-time and learning the tricks of the trade from her dad. “I’m excited and thankful about being able to farm here,” she said. “Without VLT we wouldn’t be here today.”
The Lussiers farm organically and need a lot of land to pasture their cows. This May, Paul and Kari conserved another 150 acres they had bought last year. Nearly all the land has excellent farm soils. The funding they received for conserving the property made the purchase more affordable. “The farms around us were selling lots, but it is never going to happen to us; we need all of our land!” said Alison. The Lussiers will be converting their new fields to organic hay and pastureland.
The Hubbardton River and one of its tributaries meet on the Lussiers’ farmland; in total a half-mile of these watercourses cross the new land. There is a 50-foot-wide buffer of protected forest and wetlands along the river and tributary that will help filter water as it makes its way to the southern end of Lake Champlain.
Twelve acres of clayplain forest, a rare forest type in Vermont, covers the ravines between the fields and the river. Conservation will maintain this important habitat, which was prevalent in the Champlain Valley hundreds of years ago.
Funded by VHCB and a Regional Conservation Partnership Program grant awarded to the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation by the USDA NRCS. (May 2017)