Walter and Margaret Gladstone own the Newmont Farm in Fairlee, Vermont, and the name is a collaboration. Walter is originally from New York, hence the “New” part of the name; Margaret is from Vermont, hence the “mont.”
The Newmont Farm is a large operation, with about 1700 acres, 900 milkers, and 800 young stock, and it has to be run with great efficiency. The Gladstones purchased the farm 22 years ago and started with about 60 milkers. They have continued expanding and upgrading ever since, building a new, large barn complex in 1998, and most recently installing a new system in the barn called Long Day Lighting with the help of “Efficiency Vermont.” Cattle thrive at their best with a certain cycle of light and dark. This helps them keep a regular schedule and ultimately improves their milk production. By upgrading the lighting system in the barn to provide the perfect night and day cycles for the cows, and by using high efficiency lighting devices, the Gladstones not only increased milk production, they reduced utility costs at the same time.
The Gladstones’ three children are all active on the farm. Will, 22, is the dairy herd manager; John, 19, attends diesel school and helps operate the farm equipment; and Matt, just 17, is in high school and works with the crops. The farm also has 17 full-time employees, most of whom have been there for many years, and they all help in different areas. They Gladstones also grow about 150 acres of wholesale pumpkins on the side, and this helps even out the swings of an unpredictable milk market.
The Gladstones’ dedication to dairy farming and their community extends far beyond the property line of their farm. Walter is a Director of Yankee Farm Credit and a member of the New England Dairy Farm Group, working to improve profitability and funding for dairy farms. Margaret was on the school board for six years, and often hosts visitors who want to take a look around the farm and see where their food comes from.