Vermont Creamery Breaks Ground on First Demonstration Goat Dairy in U.S.

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The first demonstration farm of its kind in the U.S., Ayers Brook will model best practices in goat dairy farming, support regional agriculture and offer a teaching venue for potential and current goat farmers.

We’re fulfilling our vision of establishing a dairy that will serve as a catalyst for fostering sustainable growth of the industry in the region. - Allison Hooper

Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery officially broke ground this spring at the newly acquired Ayers Brook Goat Dairy in Randolph, Vermont. The first demonstration farm of its kind in the U.S., Ayers Brook will model best practices in goat dairy farming, support regional agriculture and offer a teaching venue for potential and current goat farmers.

“From the beginning, Bob and I envisioned dairy goats flourishing on hillside farms in Vermont,” said Allison Hooper, co-founder of Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery. “But the idea of taking on a farm was so audacious and undoable that we barely dared utter the word. Now, almost 30 years later, we’re fulfilling our vision of establishing a dairy that will serve as a catalyst for fostering sustainable growth of the industry in the region.”

Ayers Brook Goat Dairy will support best management practices for the production of fluid goats’ milk. The Farm will improve the genetic quality and quantity of dairy goats by offering high-quality replacement stock to future farmers. Renowned goat expert, Renee DeLeeuw, joined as farm manager. “After more than 30 years in the industry,” said DeLeeuw, “I knew that this was a project I wanted to be a part of.”

The Farm

Ready for retirement, Carol and Perry Hodgdon sold their herd of Jersey cows in 2001 after 40 years of dairy farming in Randolph, Vermont. The historic Hodgdon Farm quickly became a conservation priority for the town, as developers courted the Hodgdon’s to sell the land. Instead, they sold to Evergreen Conservation Partners, L3C—a partnership of three private foundations dedicated to preserving the working landscape. Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery, in partnership with Evergreen Conservation Partners, is collaborating on establishing Ayers Brook Goat Dairy as an economically viable and environmentally sustainable goat dairy that will protect the landscape while fostering jobs and agricultural economic development throughout the Northeast.

The Teaching Model

Ayers Brook will be an “open book” for new and existing goat dairy farmers. The dairy will serve as a teaching venue for farmers throughout the United States and provide onsite training opportunities for students from Vermont schools and colleges.

“Today’s farmers must be good business people, up to speed with modern farming practices, technology and environmental stewardship,” said Bob Reese, co-founder of Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery. “The demand for goat cheese nationwide has followed a healthy trajectory of growth, but the supply of quality goats’ milk lags behind, so there is opportunity here.”

Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery

In their 29th year of business, Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery is a leading American creamery crafting innovative, all-natural fresh and aged goat cheeses, crème fraiche, mascarpone, and European-style cultured butter. The creamery has been recognized by the National Association of Specialty Food Trade and by Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility for business leadership and environmental stewardship. For more information, please visit http://www.vermontcreamery.com/ayers-brook-goat-dairy.

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Emily Bradbury
EBC Communications
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