VLT has worked with towns across the state to protect land. Many of these towns have created conservation funds that support projects from swimming holes to town forests to farms. The Town of Middlebury has built up their land conservation fund over a few decades, so that when an opportunity comes up, they can quickly show their commitment, which often helps secure grant funding. Middlebury recently helped with the conservation of two farms in just this way.
Shirley Pominville and her son, Joel, run an organic dairy with 200 cows; they also grow hemp and organic corn. Their family began piecing the farm together in the 1950s and Shirley and Joel now own over 500 acres. When they decided to conserve 210 acres on Quarry Road, the town was happy to support the project. About half the land is tillable with good farm soil and is used for feed and hemp.
Just up the road, a few miles outside Middlebury, is a farm that’s been in the Butler family since 1926. Doug Butler and his son, Casey, managed a dairy there for years and are now transitioning the business to beef cattle. They are selling Butler Beef at places as varied as Porter Hospital and the Middlebury Food Co-op; they are also selling at the farm. With help from the town, Doug conserved 148 acres that is mostly tillable land and pasture. “Our family has had plenty of offers to sell building lots,” explained Doug. “But, conserving it was the best option for us. We’re only here for a fraction of time. We need to save farmland for the people coming after us.”
These are the fifth and sixth farms that the Town of Middlebury has helped protect. Both farms play a big role in keeping the town’s farming heritage alive. Brian Carpenter, chair of the Middlebury Selectboard, remarked: “The town is pleased once again to partner with the Vermont Land Trust to leverage its Land Conservation Fund for worthwhile projects.”
Funded by VHCB (with matching funds from USDA NRCS) and the Town of Middlebury.