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Protecting farmland, generation to generation

  • 3 Min Read
  • July 10, 2024

Laroche Dairy & Son in Franklin County plans for future farmers

Matt Laroche was 24 years old when his parents, Real and Marie Claire, conserved their dairy farm 25 years ago. Over the years, the Laroches bought more land to support their growing dairy business.  

In 2020, Matt took ownership and now runs Laroche Dairy & Son with his son, Ryan, who is the fourth generation to operate this Vermont family farm (Matt and Ryan are pictured above, left to right). They milk about 400 cows and have about 700 head total, including young stock.

  Farm fields and pasture in high summer on sunny day, Franklin County Vermont 

This year, Matt worked with us to ensure the farm would stay more affordable and available for future farmers. He added conservation protections on 218 acres in Franklin and Highgate that were originally conserved in 1999.  

Matt also committed to additional protections on wetlands on the property. 

These protections aren’t the only conservation improvements the Laroches have undertaken. In the spring of 2023, they protected 131 acres in Franklin. The bulk of that land is used to grow feed for their cows. They grow hay and corn in rotation to balance feed output with managing for healthy soil.

In addition, the parcel has woods, streams, wetlands, and a section of the Rock River that flows into the northern part of Lake Champlain, in Missisquoi Bay. As part of that conservation project, land along the Rock River, a state-identified priority for such efforts, will be managed to support native vegetation, to slow and filter water and to reduce flood risk.  

Two people stand in a farm field next to a small stream. Franklin County Vermont

VLT staff Tucker Malone (left) and Cara Montgomery (right) on a field visit to Laroche Dairy and Son; the Rock River on the right.

VLT’s Tucker Malone saw through this latest conservation effort with support from many others at Team VLT, including Al Karnatz who began working with the Laroches in the 1990s.

“Vermont is fortunate to have committed farmers like the Laroches who steward their lands carefully and take on conservation practices for soil health and climate resilience in a big way,” said Tucker.  


The project was funded by the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB).

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