Right off Barre Town’s busy Airport Road is a gorgeous stretch of open fields with views of the surrounding hills. This land was bought by farmer Gordon Booth decades ago. A beloved figure in the community, Gordon grew up on his family’s dairy farm near the HP Hood milk plant. He expanded the business, buying other farmland over the years. But for him there was something special about this spot—he wanted to see it stay farmed.
When Gordon passed away in 2016, the land went into a trust managed by Gordon’s children, including his son Mark Booth, who lives next to the property. Mark took on his father’s dream of conserving the land and convinced his siblings to join him. They conserved it this year. “My dad would be tickled to know this is finally happening,” said Mark.
This summer, they plan to sell the property to Sprague Ranch, a dairy based in Brookfield that has been farming the land for several years.
Mark recalls 14 active dairy farms within a two-mile radius of the family farm when he was growing up. Today there are none. Conserving this land honors the area’s farming heritage and makes sure that it will always be available to future farmers.
“It was a pleasure working first with Gordon and then with Mark and his siblings to conserve this beautiful property,” says VLT’s Britt Haselton. “The project took many years to complete, but the family’s commitment to Vermont agriculture and conservation always remained strong.”
Gus Seelig, Executive Director of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, said, “Although this project has been a long time in the works, it is wonderful to see the next generation bringing it to the finish line. VHCB is pleased to support the conservation of this farmland, and to enable the sale to Sprague Ranch, a local dairy that has been in business since 1864, and sends their milk to Booth Brothers Dairy for processing.”
Funded by VHCB, with matching funds from USDA-NRCS.