For more than 50 years, brothers Greg and Rob Cota have farmed their family’s land in Monkton. Their father bought the home farm in the early ‘50s. The land supported the family and their dairy business until 2011, when the cows were sold. But now, there are cows in the barn once more and the farm has a new owner: Matt and Laura Baldwin.
When Rob, Greg, and his wife, Lillian, decided to sell Cota Farm, they worked with VLT to make sure it would continue to be farmed. “This is really good farmland,” explained Greg. “Houses shouldn’t be built on the best farmland in Vermont; I’m glad we have this option.”
In September, the Cotas conserved the land with VLT before selling 219 acres to the Baldwins, who had been leasing the farm for three years. Matt uses the land for his feed business and milks a herd of organic cows in the dairy barn.
“It’s not easy these days to make farms pay for themselves,” said Matt. “It’s a lot of hard work and we have to keep adapting as best we can. I want to carry on what the Cotas created over their lifetimes. VLT made this possible.”
As a testament to how special this farm is to the community, more than 50 people came together to celebrate the land’s protection. Members of the Monkton Agricultural and Natural Resource Committee provided food and cider, and attendees shared stories of the Cota family’s long history on the farm.
“The farm is an outstanding agricultural resource,” said VLT’s Al Karnatz. “Almost the whole farm is either prime or statewide-rated agricultural soil. This is a great outcome for a family that cared so deeply for their land.”
Funded by VHCB (with matching funds from USDA NRCS) and the Town of Monkton.