October 4, 2019 — The Stickney Farm lies along both sides of Pleasant Valley Road in Rockingham. It has been in the Stickney family since 1897, when they began supplying the Bellows Falls area with maple syrup and butter. Richard Stickney returned to the farm in the 1950s, after college and military service. Together with Barbara and their children, they continued the family tradition of farming.
When Richard and Barbara decided to retire, they wanted to be sure the farm would stay in the family. With VLT’s help, they developed a plan to conserve the property and transfer it through a lease-to-purchase agreement to their grandson, Robert, who grew up working on the land.
“We’re excited that the farm will remain in agriculture and stay in the family for another generation,” said Richard. “Robert is the sixth generation to operate the Stickney Farm, and there is another generation in sight with his two children.”
Barbara and Richard conserved 257 acres that include excellent farm soils and a 2,300-tap sugarbush. With help from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, they’ve been changing their farming practices to further benefit soils and support clean water. As part of their work with VLT, they protected tributaries of the Williams River and an open wetland, ensuring management practices that will support clean water for years to come.
Robert is raising high-quality beef cattle and wants to expand his cattle boarding operation and increase corn and silage production. He has enrolled with VHCB’s Vermont Farm and Forest Viability Program to help him reach his goals.
“The Stickney Farm is one of the last working farms in Rockingham,” explained VLT’s Joan Weir. “It’s great that Richard and Barbara have protected their farm and turned over the reins to their grandson.”