Boarding Heifers Benefitting Milk Industry

gingues cows ST. JOHNSBURY— The dairy industry in the Green Mountain State accounts for nearly 70 percent of sales in the agricultural sector and contributes nearly $2.2 billion in economic activity.


"Dairy is very important," said Diane Bothfeld, the Director of Admin Services and Dairy Policy for the Agency of Agriculture in the state of Vermont.


At the beginning of September there was roughly 784 dairy cows in the state of Vermont, down from 816 at the beginning of the year.

"The amount of milk is still being produced, the efficiency is still good," Bothfeld went on to say.

Paul Gingue of The Gingue Farm in Waterford says they are always trying to be more efficient, "we wanted to go to robotics and a new freestyle operation."

"They need to use technology in a way that is going to allow them to produce milk at a little less of a price," said Shawn Gingue

However a bad milk forecast meant that the Gingues' had to sell their milking cows in August of 2015.

Although no longer milking cows, the Gingues', still wanted to hang on to their farm and are still very much a part of the dairy industry, "I knew I wanted to hang onto the farm, so that's when I thought about boarding heifers for another farmer." said Gingue.

Gingue believes the dairy industry won't change much over in the more populous counties, however in the more rural areas, he considers the farms to be more versatile for other types of farming.

Paul Gingue says that their might be a need for small farms to raise heifers if big farms continue to grow, "farming out the other heifers to another farm, takes the pressure off of them to build another facility as they grow."

Boarding heifers can be beneficial for small farms as well, "we can take that manure, and spread it on our fields to produce the feed for the animals that come here," said Gingue.

Shawn Gingue talks about how it makes financial sense to work with other farms to help benefit yourself, "it keeps the whole community working together with other contractors."

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