While many Cabot farms represent generations of family, there are first-generation dairy farmers among the co-op community. In some cases, like that of Lucas Dairy Farm, those younger farmers still benefit from the mentorship of seasoned co-op members. Jon Lucas first worked closely with longtime co-op member Dave Russell in Starksboro, Vermont before settling in nearby Orwell on another Cabot farm owned by brothers, Tom and Mike Audet. “It’s not easy to start out when you’re first generation” Jon says. “You’ve got to have people like them who are willing to put their trust in you.”
Jon and Kristie Lucas wanted to raise their kids on a farm.
TheAudets were happy to pass the baton on to the Lucas family after it became clear that none of their six kids planned to pursue agriculture professionally. The brothers approached the Vermont Land Trust and asked if they knew anyone looking for a lease-to-buy deal. “Right away, Jon and Kristie and their family just clicked,” says Tom, who, with his brother, continues to do all the fieldwork and run their Ledge Haven Farm maple operation. “We’re here to help him be successful.”
It's been a long road to get where we are. I think we’re here to stay.
- Jon Lucas
Life and work on the farm suits Jon and Kristie. “This is the life we wanted for our family,” Jon says. The commute is short and Kristie can help with the books and be there for the kids, who are growing up outdoors around nature and animals. “I love the life andit’s a great place to live and raise a family,” Jon says. “And probably most important, the community is helpful and likes for its farms to succeed.”