It’s no secret that our farmers work hard and dedicate 365 days a year to helping make the world’s finest dairy products. A lesser-known story about our farmers, though, is the spirit of innovation that drives them. For over a century, the farm families who own Cabot have been stewards of the land, as well as bold innovators who are constantly improving quality of life for their cows, their families, and the land that sustains them.#Cabotfarmers are deeply committed to constant innovation that makes for happier cows, healthier soil, stronger farm families, and more of the rich milk that becomes the world’s best cheddar #cabotcheese Click To Tweet
As Blue Spruce Farm’s Marie Audet says, “we don’t farm the way we did ten years ago, or even five years ago. We’re changing year by year.”
That means pioneering renewable energy technology that helps nurture local communities and protect the environment for the next generation. It also means investing in new milking methods, such as robotic milking, which help improve cow comfort and efficiency so that cows have more down time and farms are able to produce even more of the fresh, creamy goodness our co-op—and our loyal customers—have loved and depended on for a hundred years.
Here’s a look at some the exciting innovations, and trailblazing famers, leading the way:
Real Farm Power makes the most of existing farm resources—cow manure, food scraps, sunshine—and turns them into renewable energy, fertilizer, and bedding for cows.
Many Vermont farms have already installed anaerobic digesters, which convert cow manure into electricity used on the farm and in the community. In fact, according to Marie Audet, these changes have now become so common that “we can’t even imagine a farm today that doesn’t have renewable energy.”
Foster Brothers Farm in Middlebury, VT has also embraced Real Farm Power. The Fosters were among the first in Vermont to install a digester, and their Moo Doo operation turns cow manure into nutrient-rich compost sold all over the North East. For Bob Foster, innovation is at the heart of what his family has dedicated itself to for five generations. “Farming uses lots of science, natural resources, animals, and people to continually make improvements in how we interact with our environment. That is what farming is all about.”
Dig deeper into Real Farm Power.
Many Cabot farmers now use a robotic milking system on their farms, which gives cows full control over when and how often they get milked—and gives farmers more time to focus on caring for their herd.
Amanda Freund, whose farm is home to a robotic milking system, loves that robotic milking means her cows spend less time in a milking parlor. “Each milking only takes 6-7 minutes and cows visit an average of 3 times per day. This means the average cow spends no more than 21 minutes being milked in a 24-hour period, allowing her to spend more time socializing, eating at the bunk, or resting and chewing her cud.”
Learn more about the exciting world of robotic milking.
On many family farms, innovations all come together in the barn. From automated back scratchers, robots that help with feeding, and electronic chips (like Fit Bits) on a cow’s collar that help track movement and monitor cow health, twenty-first century Smart Barns are now home to an incredible array of next-century solutions that are re-inventing farming, while making life better for cows and farmers.
Learn 10 facts about the Smart Barn.
Next generation Cabot Farmer Clara Ayer, from Fairmont Farm in East Montpelier, VT is proud to be carrying on the tradition of innovation. Fairmont Farm was named 2017 Vermont Dairy Farm of the Year and is home to cover cropping techniques that help prevent erosion and promote soil heath, as well as a cow summer camp for local youth. “Farmers are constantly using research, science, and technology to be the most sustainable that they can be,” Clara says. “I love knowing that when we care for our land, we can create high quality forages for our cows as well as preserve the land for future generations.”
We’re so honored to work with all our amazing farmers who are boldly leading farming, and our co-op, into the next century.