Protect the Whitcomb Farm in Essex
These days Essex Junction is better known for computer chips than dairy farms. But, the Whitcombs were a fixture in the community long before computers were invented. The family began farming in 1867; now the sixth generation is in the business, with each generation continuing to innovate and adapt. The Vermont Land Trust has been working with the Whitcomb family to permanently conserve 410 acres.
The sale of conservation restrictions means that the land will remain undeveloped and available for farming for generations to come. The Whitcombs raise about 500 Holsteins, 300 of which they milk at the Williston Farm. They are often at the forefront of agricultural innovation. Recently they installed robotic milkers, and in 2001, they were named Vermont Dairy Farmers of the Year. The Whitcomb Farm has also been recognized as a Dairy of Distinction and for Winooski River Conservation.
Because of the farm’s size and unique location, the project was divided into two phases. A 271-acre portion was conserved in 2014; now we are working to protect 139 acres by October 2017. However we can’t do this without help from the community! Please consider a donation today.
What makes this farm special?
The farm has some of the state’s best soil and nearly 2.5 miles of Winooski River frontage. Conservation of the 139-acre parcel will result in a 50-foot-buffer of natural vegetation along the river; this area will meander with the river.
Good neighbors with town support
The Whitcombs have worked with the village to be good ambassadors for agriculture. They apply all of Essex Junction’s bio-solids to their fields with a high-tech injector system that helps prevent nutrient run-off. About half the Village stormwater runoff passes through a culvert and ditching network on the farm that was paid for by the Village. This undeveloped land is an important resource for the community and for farming.
You can help permanently protect this land!
Grants from Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, the Village of Essex Junction, and others account for 90% of the amount needed to protect this land. The family is taking $255,000 less than the assessed value of the conservation restrictions.
We need to raise $40,000 by October 6. Tax deductible gifts and pledges must be mailed by October 6, 2017 to:
Vermont Land Trust
8 Bailey Avenue
Montpelier, VT 05602