Pancakes and Farm Tours!

Have you heard about Breakfast on the Farm?  We are hosting this event this Saturday, June 17th, at our farm on Lyle Young Road in East Montpelier.  At least 1,000 visitors are expected, visitors will come for a FREE pancake breakfast and then go on a self guided tour through our dairy farm.  Thank you to the many generous sponsors that make this event happen and to the 100+ volunteers that will help the event run smoothly for our guests.

Tickets to the event are free but they need to be reserved at http://www.vermontbreakfastonthefarm.com.

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Breakfast on the Farm will be at Fairmont Farm, Inc., 95 Lyle Young Road, East Montpelier, VT on June 17, 2017

So what might visitors see on our dairy farm?  Here’s a quick preview of what to expect:

Visitors will learn about our forages!  Did you know that we can produce 60% of our cows diet by putting up high quality haylage and corn silage?

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A group of cows get fed in our free stall barn using a mixer wagon.  They are fed TMR (Total Mixed Ration) that is made up of about 60% forages we produce and 40% purchased grains.

Visitors will see our new maternity barn, where they may or may not get to see a new mom and baby.  Averaging about 5 births a day, we will cross our fingers that some lucky visitors may be able to see a new calf coming into the world!

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These two mothers help a baby calf stand up just an hour after birth!

Manure!  How can you go to a dairy farm without learning about how awesome our cows are at recycling?  Visitors will see our manure pits and learn about how we use manure as the main ingredient to our nutrient management plan which helps us grow excellent crops that will be harvested for our animals diet.

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Our “pit crawler” stirs our manure to incorporate the sand and manure together to be spread back on our fields.

When we talk about our manure and cropping, we cannot help but talk about conservation!  Visitors will see through a demonstration how our no-till crop system works to improve soil health and water quality.  We plant almost 100% no-till and have been using this system since 2008.

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Corn is planted directly into this winter rye cover crop without tilling up the land to reduce soil erosion and protect both soil health and water quality.

With manure and conservation practices of course comes equipment, there will be a variety of equipment to check out up close!

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This is a sampling of our tractors we use for multiple jobs on our dairy farm, here they are pushing up and packing corn silage!

Cows!  There will be lots of cows for visitors to see, they will learn about what life is like on our farm as a cow and how we work hard to keep them happy, healthy and comfortable.

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Cows at the feed bunk enjoying their free choice buffet.  In our free stall barns, cows are free to eat, sleep and drink water whenever they please.  They go to the parlor to be milked three times a day.

Visitors will be able to see our milking parlor where we produce about 120,000 pounds of milk a day, which is roughly 12,000 pounds of cheese!  There will be a mechanical cow to try milking and a milk truck to show how our milk is transported from our farm to the Cabot Creamery in Cabot, Vermont.

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Cows are milked in our double 15 parallel  parlor, we can milk 30 cows at a time.  Our parlor runs 21 hours a day, which includes 3 milkings for all the cows.  The three hours of down time are spent cleaning our milking system between each milking.

There will also be a station to learn about our 4-H club and summer camps, we have a lot of fun sharing our passion of caring for our animals with local youth and love to see their hard work pay off when they show their animals in the fall.

Maiden Big E

Our winter calf won her class at the Big E in 2015, our 4-Hers work hard to qualify to show at this event.  We are proud of the work they put in to show our animals and the high quality animals we have been producing by focusing on genetic improvements in our breeding program.

The highlight of many of our tours is our calf barn and the baby calves, visitors of course can expect to spend time learning about how we raise our calves to be the future of our dairy herd.

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Calves drinking milk in the calf barn, they are housed in groups of 8 and have free choice milk, grain and water.  It is quite common to see them playing and snuggling together!

Our family hopes to see you at Breakfast on the Farm this Saturday, June 17th, at our farm on Lyle Young Road in East Montpelier.  The event is free but please remember to reserve your tickets by visiting http://www.vermontbreakfastonthefarm.com.

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Our family is looking forward to meeting yours for Breakfast on the Farm at our dairy Farm, Fairmont Farm.  See you Saturday!

 

 

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Fair Season is now in Full Swing!

Udderly Crazy 2016

Udderly Crazy 4-H Club (from left to right): Justin Thurber, Isabel Hall, Caroline Kirby, Maggie Kirby, Charlie Haynes

The Udderly Crazy 4-H Club at Fairmont Farm just returned from a great start to their showing season.  August 15th, 2016 was the Vermont State 4-H Show at the Caledonia County Fairgrounds.  We could not be more proud of this amazing group of 4-Hers.

Charlie Haynes placed 3rd in his 11 year old Showmanship class, one of the largest classes of the day!  Caroline Kirby won the 12 year old Showmanship class and then went on to be the Reserve Junior Champion Showman.  Isabel Hall won the 14 year old Showmanship class and Justin Thurber placed 4th in the 14 year old Showmanship class.  Maggie Kirby won her 17 year old Showmanship class.  Isabel Hall was the Senior Champion Showman.

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Isabel Hall – Senior Champion Showmanship – Vermont State 4-H Show 2016

The conformation classes were quite successful as well.  Udderly Crazy 4-H had the 2nd and 3rd place calves in the Spring Calf class, 1st place heifer in the Spring Yearling class and 1st place heifer in the Summer Yearling class.  Our Summer Yearling went on to be Junior Champion of the show!

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Fairmont O Kaliber Lust-ET – 1st place Summer Yearling and Jr. Champion

Congratulations to all of our hardworking 4-Hers that put a lot of time and effort into training their heifers and preparing them for the show ring!

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Caroline prepping “Abiline” for the show ring

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Maggie adding some final touches to “Abbi” before winning the Spring Yearling class

The Udderly Crazy 4-H Club will be headed to the Northeast Kingdom Holstein Show this Saturday August 20th at the Barton Fairgrounds, the show starts at 3pm.

Fairmont will then have a string of animals at the Champlain Valley Fairgrounds for the Vermont State Holstein Show which will be held September 4th.  The best animals will continue on to the Northeast Fall National Holstein Show held on September 16th at the Big E Fairgrounds.

From Udderly Crazy, Maggie Kirby, Isabel Hall and Caroline Kirby have all qualified to attend the Big E with their heifers and represent Vermont 4-H.  The 4-H show at the Big E is both September 17th and 18th.  Maggie will be representing Vermont on the Judging Team A, Isabel will be representing Vermont on Judging Team B as well as the Quiz Bowl Team.

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We hope to see you at some of these upcoming fairs, please visit us in the barn and cheer us on in the stands!

A Day in the Life of a Fairmont Camper

If you’re wondering about our summer camps, here are some snapshots to take you through a day in the life of one of our campers….

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Campers start the morning feeding the heifers

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….and showing them some love!

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Campers brushed their calves

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and learned to lead!

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They bathed their calves,

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and there was plenty of time for bonding 🙂

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Each camper got assigned their own calf for the week,

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which they formed great relationships with…

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smiles all around from the kids and the calves!

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Campers and their calves learned to work together,

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and trust each other!

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Campers also spent time doing daily chores

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and keeping the barn tidy….

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they also made sure our cows had clean water bowls to come back to!

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We made time to play some games to cool off,

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and get our energy out!

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Campers did some team building exercises,

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and helped each other out!

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We had fun watching this duck,

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and all her ducklings!

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Campers fed the baby calves….

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played with them,

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and snuggled them!

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Campers also did a great job cleaning dishes for the next feeding!

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We took a trip to visit Cabot, where all of Fairmont’s milk goes!

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Campers even learned to milk themselves…

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and make butter!

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They also enjoyed dairy products!

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They had fun posing for their very own…

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milk mustache shoot!

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We certainly loved all the different mustaches…

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so cute!!

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Campers made friends,

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and experimented with making some human pyramids!

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They got a little daring with a large pyramid…

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which didn’t last very long!

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We had some special guests from the news…

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and some more guests that taught us about fire extinguishers!

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Learned a little about the history of dairy farming,

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and about dairy showing and dairy judging.

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Campers also took a field trip to our main farm…

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to see many many more calves…

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that is always a hit for both the calves and the campers 🙂

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The whole week led up to a demonstration to family and friends,

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showing everyone what they learned during the week!

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Everyone went home with a blue ribbon,

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we had two awesome groups of campers this year!

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Friends and family even got to meet the special calves that the kids worked with all week!

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Our calves certainly miss their camper friends….

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they can’t wait until next year!

 

Why Dairy Farmers Love Sand like a Child at the Beach

There is something about building a Sand Castle at the beach that is so satisfying and spectacular.  The sand feels wonderful beneath your toes and molds to your body.  The sand can be formed into anything your heart desires.

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On our dairy farm, our cows are equally excited about sand.  Sand is their bed.  Sand is the best bedding we can use for both our cows comfort and health.

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Freshly Raked Sand Beds

At Fairmont, we use “deep sand beds” which means there is not even a floor to the bed, it is all sand.  The sand molds to cows bodies, just like ours at the beach, making a custom bed for each animal.  This type of bedding has proven to be the top choice for dairy producers when it comes to leg comfort, providing a soft spot for the cows hocks to rest and an easy material to get back up in.  Sand also beats out other bedding choices due to the nature of it being non-organic (not related to or derived from living matter), meaning the growth of bacteria is a non-issue compared to bedding with shavings for example that comes from a living organism.  The growth of bacteria in bedding can lead to infections of the udder, called mastitis.  That is why it is very important for our cows health and the quality of our milk to use the best bedding we can find.

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Our girls enjoying their beds!

With all of the positive aspects of sand, finding a plentiful and consistent source for our bedding is often troublesome.  With our recent purchase of the Norman Dix property on Route 2 in Plainfield, we found sand!  If you are local to our Central Vermont area, you may have seen the project we were working on this winter.  We have been digging sand and running it through a screener to ensure a high quality bedding product for our cows.  By extracting the sand we were able to improve the field by making the unused hill in the middle of the field usable!  Another added bonus was driveway material that was screened out of the sand.

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Our trucks have been busy this past winter hauling sand to the main farm in East Montpelier to stockpile top quality bedding for all the beautiful ladies at Fairmont Farm!

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This girl is captured getting some beauty rest in a clean and comfortable sand bed!

Our cows…the reason why we love sand like a child on the beach.