Vernon dairy farm receives state grant

VERNON — Vern-Mont Farm in South Vernon, owned by Jeff Dunklee, was one of 12 dairy farms around the state that shared in more than $360,000 in Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program awards for infrastructure and water quality improvements.

Dunklee is a fifth-generation dairy farmer who manages a herd of about 500 cows at Vern-Mont Farm, an 850-acre operation located on Fort Bridgman Road.

According to the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, which runs the program, Dunklee will receive $33,844 to expand a barn for improved herd management.

The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program, made the awards through its water quality and dairy improvement grant programs.

Five farms from Rutland, Franklin, and Addison counties were awarded $146,829 in Water Quality Grants.

These grants leveraged $1.6 million in additional funding for capital improvement projects to reduce runoff and improve manure management and soil health. Funding for the water quality grants comes from the state of Vermont's Capital Construction and Bonding Act.

The Viability Program also awarded $221,965 in dairy improvement grants to eight farmers in Chittenden, Orleans, Franklin, Windham, and Addison counties.

These funds are matched by the farmers' funds, bank loans, and grant funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.

The grants will be used to support infrastructure improvement projects with combined costs of over $1.1 million that will improve cow health, cow comfort, farm efficiency, and water quality.

Funding for the Dairy Improvement Grants comes from Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy, LLC, producers of Green Mountain Creamery Greek yogurt from Vermont milk at their plant in Guilford.

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