“I have a ten year old daughter, and I wouldn’t allow any milk to leave this farm that I wouldn’t allow her to drink…period,” says Jeff Dunklee, a fifth generation dairy farmer at Vern-Mont Farm.
Vern-Mont farm has been in the Dunklee family for five generations and over 150 years. Jeff Dunklee, who manages the farm today, grew up on the farm, working alongside his parents, Alfred and Martha. Jeff’s great-great-grandfather, Nelson, settled in Vernon, Vermont in 1856. He was born in 1812 in southern Vermont. In the late 1890s he purchased cropland in Vernon and by World War I had expanded. He built a barn and expanded to about 120 Jerseys. He purchased the first milking machines and the first tractor in the area – a 1918 International. Today, the barn he originally built is still in use and the farm has expanded to care for over 1,000 animals.
Vern-Mont Farm is located near the Connecticut River. The soil is naturally fertile and considered the gold standard in soils. That means that the farm can produce more crops from their 900 acres than a farm with the same amount of sandy soil, for example, and they don’t have to farm as many acres. Healthy soil, like at Vern-Mont Farm, is key to feeding people in a sustainable way.
Many dairy farms, like Vern-Mont Farm, create their own sustainable source of bedding for their cows – from manure. Vern-Mont Farm owns a manure-solid separator which separates the undigested forages such as corn and hay from the manure. The material is soft, sterile and used as comfy bedding for the cows. The farm previously relied on saw dust shavings for bedding but now nearly all of the bedding is made right on the farm. Rather than purchasing bedding from outside sources, this is a continuous cycle of reusing the farm’s existing resources.
Jeff is the perfect example of a hard working dairy farmer committed to producing high-quality, wholesome dairy for our New England communities. He is committed to innovation, sustainability, and the health and welfare of his animals.
“I have a ten year old daughter, and I wouldn’t allow any milk to leave this farm that I wouldn’t allow her to drink…period,” says Jeff.