December news + events
Featured Farmer: Jon Lucas
Lucas Dairy, Orwell, Vermont
Jon Lucas is a rare breed among farmers.
Especially dairy farmers.
If you read our Featured Farmer stories on a regular basis, you know that many of our members come from long lines of agriculturally inclined folks.
Their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and even great-great-grandparents have handed land, barns, and wisdom down through the generations.
Not so for Jon: He’s a first generation dairyman and Vermonter.
Having grown up in New Hampshire, Jon attended Vermont Technical College for Dairy Farm Management. He returned to his home state to work on two farms.
“Then I got the bright idea that I should farm on my own,” he says through a chuckle.
What happened next?
CVFC Is On The Air!
Listen: What's Happening on Farms this Winter?
CVFC’s Executive Director Vijay Nazareth recently visited the 92.1 WVTK studios to talk about what’s happening on Vermont farms this time of year. Vijay discussed winter preparations, planning ahead for spring, cover crops, and climate smart farming. 
UVM Extension is Hiring
University of Vermont Extension is now accepting applications for the role of Extension Assistant Professor of Agronomy. The focus of this position is to develop a crop and soil focused applied education, outreach, and research program that benefits a diverse agricultural community in Vermont. This is a union-represented, 12-month, 0.80 FTE faculty position with the opportunity to increase to 1.0 FTE through grants and/or teaching. UVM Extension is especially interested in candidates who can cultivate a statewide extension program (with focus in Champlain and Connecticut River Valleys) that ensures economically viable agricultural production while balancing environment and natural resource protection and priorities. To learn more about this position and to apply click here.
Grants and Funding
Grants and Funding Opportunities
  • 2023 National Grazing Lands Coalition Mini-Grant: The NatGLC’s mission is to promote ecologically and economically sound management of private grazing lands for all their adapted uses and multiple benefits to society. The NatGLC recognizes grazing lands as a major source of watershed filtration, groundwater recharge, and carbon sequestration, providing improved soil, water, and air quality. Projects must relate to grazing lands sustainability or Climate Smart Agriculture and include at least one of the following components: conservation planning, workshops, or conferences. All proposals must be submitted via webform by 5:00 p.m. CST on January 6, 2023.
  • Lake Champlain Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP): The VT DEC Regional Conservation Partnership Program grant (RCPP) is now accepting applications for landowners to apply for practices related to water quality improvement. RCPP has $10M over the next 5 years to increase implementation of ag and forestry best management practices, wetland restoration, and easements. RCPP applications will be accepted through January 13, 2023. To apply, contact Kait Jones, RCPP project coordinator at, or connect with a local RCPP planner who will help with the application process.
  • Dairy Farm Innovation & Alternative Management Grant: Innovation is key to building enduring farm businesses and a sustainable regional food system. This grant supports the implementation of community- and climate-forward practices and will fund projects that lead to improved ecological and economic outcomes, as well as benefit the broader dairy community. Awards range from $15,000 - $75,000 with a 25% match commitment. The application deadline is February 2, 2023.
  • Organic On-Farm Milk Storage & Handling Grant: In alignment with the Northeast Dairy Innovation Business Center, ongoing funding priority to increase resiliency in the organic supply chain, and in response to the high demand for milk storage and handling upgrades in previous funding rounds, the NE-DBIC is announcing a supplemental Organic On-Farm Milk Storage & Handling Grant. This grant will fund the purchase of specialized equipment to help streamline milk pick-up, increase efficiencies around milk storage, and improve handling for both farmers and their processors. Open to all organic dairy farmers, those who lost contracts with Horizon Organic and Maple Hill Creamery will be prioritized to help them successfully transition to new buyers. Awards will range from $10,000- $50,000 with a 25% match commitment. Total funds available equal $450,000. Applications will open on December 15, 2022 with a submission deadline of February 9, 2023.
  • Farm Agronomic Practice (FAP) Program: Utilizes state funding to help Vermont farms implement soil-based agronomic practices that improve soil quality, increase crop production, and reduce erosion and agricultural waste discharges. Eligible fall practices include manure injection and no-till renovation: apply >30 days before implementation.
  • Pasture and Surface Water Fencing (PSWF) Program: Provides pasture management technical assistance and financial assistance to Vermont farmers to improve water quality and on-farm livestock exclusion from surface waters statewide. Applications accepted year-round.
  • Grassed Waterway and Filter Strip (GWFS) Program: Provides technical and financial assistance to Vermont farmers for in-field agronomic best practices to address critical source areas, erosion, and surface runoff. The Program’s goal is to reduce soil erosion and improve soil and water quality on cropland that contributes a disproportionately high level of nutrients in runoff. Such areas of cropland are considered “Critical Source Areas” (CSAs), representing a small proportion of the landscape yet a high proportion of non-point source pollution loads. Applications accepted year-round.
  • Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP): A voluntary program designed to reduce sediment runoff and improve water quality by removing land from agricultural production and establishing vegetative buffers. State and federal funds are used to compensate landowners for the loss of productive agricultural land through upfront incentive payments and annual rental payments based on the total acreage dedicated to vegetated filter strips, forested buffers, or grassed waterways. Applications accepted year-round.
  • Community Recovery and Revitalization Program: The CRRP will provide funding for projects that make capital improvements or capital expansions that were delayed due to the negative economic impacts of COVID-19. Eligible uses for these funds include the development of affordable housing, improvements to or new construction of childcare facilities, projects for nonprofits and small businesses in impacted industries, and municipal water supply and wastewater projects. These recovery funds are intended to retain and expand existing businesses and nonprofit organizations with a preference for projects located in regions and communities with declining or stagnant grand list values. The application is now open and will remain open until all funds are allocated.

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