Inside Fairmont Farm: Part One

 

Fairmont Farm inc. is a family dairy farm in East Montpelier, Vermont,  established in 1992 when three smaller family farms merged into one. In the 24 years since, Fairmont has undergone many changes and expansions while still maintaining a small family atmosphere.

Currently 1400 Holstein cows are milked at Fairmont’s three locations: one in Craftsbury and two in East Montpelier.

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Cows are brought in for milking at the main farm in East Montpelier

Farm partner Tucker Purchase said, “Right now we ship 117,000 pounds of milk, every day to Cabot. That’s almost 12,000 pounds of [dairy products] that’s made every day with our milk.”   Fairmont raises most of their own feed from 3000 acres surrounding the farms. Cows are fed a mixed ration composed of corn silage and haylage which are all grown on the farm, along with grain and minerals purchased from a local feed company.

 

All heifers are raised to calving at the East Montpelier facility. After calving cows are milked in a milking parlor three times per day by two shifts of two milkers. Cows are bred again during lactation where they are then trucked to Craftsbury to finish their lactation period. After lactation they are moved once again to East Montpelier as dry cows where they wait to calve again.

 

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Cows are brought in for milking at the main farm in East Montpelier

The reason for moving the cows is simple “We want to take the cow that is making 70 or 80 pounds of milk up there, because this diet here is balanced for 100 pounds, the first diet there is balanced for 85 and the next one is balanced for 70. we don’t want to overfeed them.” Purchase said.

Also in East Montpelier, is Fairmont Holsteins at the Haven. The Haven is very special farm location giving a home to some very special cows. The farm was purchased in 2014 as a place to keep high quality show animals. Currently around 60 cows are milked twice a day.

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The farm operates in all weather

Fairmont takes huge pride in milk quality despite being what many would consider a large dairy. “Each load that leaves the farm is checked for antibiotics, somatic cell count, a raw count, a pasteurized count and a PI count. There’s legal limits that we need to stay under and then there’s limits that Agri-Mark pays a bonus for if we are below,” said Tucker Purchase. “Most of the time we get payed the highest quality that Agri-mark offers…When people look at a big farm they wonder about individual treatment or how the cows are treated. I think it just shows that we are producing the best, highest quality milk that Agri-Mark members are doing… We do a really good job to care for our cows, we keep our cows clean and we use the right procedures to milk them and treat them.”

This is the first part of a monthly series, don’t forget to read again next month.