Exceptional living in
Berlin on 9. 5 acres.
Dog River frontage.
Updated four bedroom
Magnificent kitchen with
cherry cabinetry and
Heated garage with
second floor studio
81 Main Street, Montpelier
Custom Designed House & Barn Timber Frames
Authentically joined in the Vermont Tradition
Call 802-434-2120 P.O. Box 68-V Huntington, VT 05462
Bright, cozy home set
amidst 20 wooded acres
and bordered by a
brook. In Duxbury, close
to ski areas and I-89.
Passive solar sunroom,
chefs stove with gas
cooktop and electric
oven, hot tub, deck and
theatre room. Year
round home or weekend
81 Main Street, Montpelier
for conservation. We buy it, conserve it
and sell it to the farmer. I’m working with
new entrepreneurial farmers who are really
capturing the diversified farm and local
food that’s going on in the state, but they
don’t have secure tenure to land. Land is the
number-one barrier to farmers. I help them
get on land affordably; I work with them on
financing, the legal process, permitting. It’s
a multilayered process, with a lot of moving
pieces to keep it all together.
VL: Helping people realize their dream
of owning land must resonate with you
because of your own family’s story.
JR: At the end of the day, you’re helping
someone buy their first farm. It’s literally
a life-changing event. You develop a deep
relationship with these people. It can
take three or four years sometimes to
find a place for people, and you’re with
them, inch by inch, in this long process.
VL: In both your jobs, there’s a mix of
conservation and agriculture. Why do
conservation and agriculture work so
well together in Vermont?
JR: In Vermont, people value the working
landscape, and they respect how hard it is
to farm. Some places might have neighbor
troubles with noises and smells, but overall,
this state is friendly toward agriculture.
I remember a farmer standing out in
a field in the middle of his big Addison
County farm saying part of the reason he
was farming was the land. People have such
deep connections to their land, and they
put so much into it that conservation is
something that is easily done because they
care about the land’s future. The reality is
farming is conservation, it’s utilizing the land
but not over-utilizing it; because if you do
that, you’re hurting your next year’s crop.
VL: As a traditional farmer, how
do you relate to the “new” farmers of
JR: At VLT, I’ve been working with
a couple of Dartmouth College grads
who want to farm. They could go down
many different career paths, but they are
choosing agriculture. We want a diverse
pool of farmers, the ones who grew up
in the school of hard knocks — the
traditional farm — and the ones with
new ideas. It’s great to have that mix. You
need new ideas, new people.
VL: How has the perception of farming
changed since you were the kid milking
cows and cleaning out pens?
JR: There was no glory in dairy
farming — it was hard work, long hours.
One of the saddest things is seeing
people who grew up on small family
farms and burned out — it’s just the
grind of farming. Now, there is a lot of
glory about being a food producer. It’s
important and respected.
Now, when I go to farmers markets
with our Black Angus beef, people are
really excited. They’ve heard about it or
tried it, and they want to order from us.
It gives you a lot of pride. A