Organic Farmers Conserve Fairfield Farmland and Sugarbush

Farm couple leaning against fence on sunny day with pasture behind them -- organic dairy farmers conserved their Fairfield land with VLT

Good farmland isn’t easy to find in Vermont. A few years ago, when a prominent parcel near Fairfield village went on the market, farmers Dan and Shelley Howrigan seized the opportunity and bought it.

Dan, whose family has farmed in Vermont for seven generations, explained that they “went out on a limb” for the land. “We paid top dollar… We paid development prices, yet I’d hate to see it developed,” he explained. To make sure that never happened, Dan worked with VLT to conserve 141 acres. “I wanted to conserve it so [no one is] tempted to carve it up into house lots.”

Dan runs an organic dairy business in partnership with his brother, Robert. Together they have two farms spread over 450 acres. On their home farm, Dan and Shelley milk 135 cows. They are using the newly conserved property for hay and pasture. There are also woods where the Howrigans are rejuvenating a sugarbush. They have invested in a pipeline system and installed over 2,000 taps.

Funded by VHCB, with matching funds from USDA-NRCS.