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Modeling Agricultural Outcomes In A Warmer, Wetter Vermont, Rachel Mason Jan 2019

Modeling Agricultural Outcomes In A Warmer, Wetter Vermont, Rachel Mason

Graduate College Dissertations and Theses

This thesis aimed to model agricultural outcomes that are important to Vermont dairy farms and their surrounding communities -- runoff, erosion, nitrogen and phosphorus losses, crop yields, and timeliness of farm operations -- under a set of possible future climates. The Agricultural Policy/Environmental eXtender (APEX) model was used for this work, and the models were calibrated using data from a project that measured most of these outcomes on a set of local farms. The model setup and calibration methodology is thoroughly documented and may be a useful starting point for others who are new to agricultural modeling.

Applied to two farms ...


Governing Water Quality Limits In Agricultural Watersheds, Courtney Ryder Hammond Wagner Jan 2019

Governing Water Quality Limits In Agricultural Watersheds, Courtney Ryder Hammond Wagner

Graduate College Dissertations and Theses

The diffuse runoff of agricultural nutrients, also called agricultural nonpoint source pollution (NPS), is a widespread threat to freshwater resources. Despite decades of research into the processes of eutrophication and agricultural nutrient management, social, economic, and political barriers have slowed progress towards improving water quality. A critical challenge to managing agricultural NPS pollution is motivating landowners to act against their individual farm production incentives in response to distant ecological impacts. The complexity of governing the social-ecological system requires improved understanding of how policy shapes farmer behavior to improve the state of water quality. This dissertation contributes both theoretically and empirically ...


Organic Dairy Profitability In Vermont: Measuring The Impacts Of Management And Market Forces On Farm Financial Performance, Jonathan Patrick Walsh Jan 2019

Organic Dairy Profitability In Vermont: Measuring The Impacts Of Management And Market Forces On Farm Financial Performance, Jonathan Patrick Walsh

Graduate College Dissertations and Theses

The total number of operating dairy farms in the US has decreased by 74.1% over the past 25 years, dropping from 155,339 in 1992 to just 40,219 in 2017. As milk prices have fallen and become more volatile, profit margins have tightened, causing farmers to leave the business due to low profitability. Some Vermont farmers are currently looking for new economic strategies. One approach has been to transition from conventional to organic production in order to take advantage of better prices and new market opportunities. In order to make production decisions, farmers need accurate financial information on ...


On The Application Of Computational Modeling To Complex Food Systems Issues, Serge William Wiltshire Jan 2019

On The Application Of Computational Modeling To Complex Food Systems Issues, Serge William Wiltshire

Graduate College Dissertations and Theses

Transdisciplinary food systems research aims to merge insights from multiple fields, often revealing confounding, complex interactions. Computational modeling offers a means to discover patterns and formulate novel solutions to such systems-level problems. The best models serve as hubs—or boundary objects—which ground and unify a collaborative, iterative, and transdisciplinary process of stakeholder engagement. This dissertation demonstrates the application of agent-based modeling, network analytics, and evolutionary computational optimization to the pressing food systems problem areas of livestock epidemiology and global food security. It is comprised of a methodological introduction, an executive summary, three journal-article formatted chapters, and an overarching discussion ...


The Vermonter's Guide To The Farm Bill, Olivia A. Peña Jun 2018

The Vermonter's Guide To The Farm Bill, Olivia A. Peña

Food Systems Master's Project Reports

The Farm Bill is a comprehensive set of laws and programs that dictates United States policies across the food system. While it may seem that a farm bill is only related to agriculture, this legislation, in reality, includes a broad set of policies on food production, nutrition assistance, rural community development, research, the environment, international trade, and more. Often known as a farm and food bill, the legislation impacts food systems stakeholders, including those who farm, live in a rural community, and even those who eat food—so that is everyone.

Considering the widespread impacts of the Farm Bill, it ...


Direct Farm-To-Institution Marketing: The Common Challenges And Keys To Success Of Northeast Producers, Chloe E. Boutelle May 2018

Direct Farm-To-Institution Marketing: The Common Challenges And Keys To Success Of Northeast Producers, Chloe E. Boutelle

Food Systems Master's Project Reports

This research discovers what are the shared barriers Northeast producers engaged in the institutional market consistently face and what enables them to establish, maintain and strengthen a sales relationship with institutions. The findings can help producers understand the challenges and opportunities, how and when to approach, and provide strategies to enhance their success with the institutional market. The research concludes with implications for non-grower farm-to-institution stakeholders.

The common challenges producers faced in establishing, maintaining and strengthening institutional sales relationships included buyers who focus on low price points, uncommitted buyers, food service management companies, demand for processed products and laws and ...


Agency And Empowerment On Women-Owned Farms: A Vermont Agricultural Case Study, Caroline R. Putscher Apr 2018

Agency And Empowerment On Women-Owned Farms: A Vermont Agricultural Case Study, Caroline R. Putscher

Food Systems Master's Project Reports

When examining data from the most recent US Census of Agriculture (2012), I noticed a distinct imbalance between the percentages of male and female farmers, both in the country and in Vermont. Sales from women-owned farms represent only 3.3 percent of the total of U.S. agricultural sales, and in Vermont, women were the principal operators of 22.38 percent of farms. I wanted to examine the factors that led to these imbalances, and also understand from women farmers themselves what strategies they used to overcome these obstacles. The theories of agency and empowerment can be used in explaining ...


Ecological And Economic Benefits Of Integrating Sheep Into Viticulture Production, Meredith T. Niles, Rachael Garrett, Drew Walsh Feb 2018

Ecological And Economic Benefits Of Integrating Sheep Into Viticulture Production, Meredith T. Niles, Rachael Garrett, Drew Walsh

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Faculty Publications

The integration of crop and livestock systems has been recognized for its potential to reduce the environmental impacts associated with agriculture and improve farmer livelihoods. However, to date, most research has focused on the integration of cattle into crop and pasture systems. Here we examine the integration of sheep into vineyards and assess farmers’ perceived benefits and costs of the practice. Viticulture expansion has led to significant land use change in recent years and new environmental challenges, particularly with respect to herbicide use. Sheep integration into vineyards offers the potential to utilize the synergies of both systems to reduce external ...


Short Season Corn Silage Performance Trial Summary, Heather Darby Jan 2018

Short Season Corn Silage Performance Trial Summary, Heather Darby

Northwest Crops & Soils Program

Conducted by Dr. Heather Darby and the University of Vermont Northwest Crops and Soils Program

Short season corn (88-95 day relative maturity) silage hybrids in Alburgh, VT

Planting Date: 05-18-18

Harvest Date: 09-12-18


Long Season Corn Silage Performance Trial Summary, Heather Darby Jan 2018

Long Season Corn Silage Performance Trial Summary, Heather Darby

Northwest Crops & Soils Program

Conducted by Dr. Heather Darby and the University of Vermont Northwest Crops and Soils Program

Long season corn (96-110 day relative maturity) silage hybrids in Alburgh, VT

Planting Date: 05-17-18

Harvest Date: 09-19-18


Vermont Organic Silage Corn Performance Trial, Heather Darby, Sara Ziegler, Abha Gupta, Lindsey Ruhl Jan 2018

Vermont Organic Silage Corn Performance Trial, Heather Darby, Sara Ziegler, Abha Gupta, Lindsey Ruhl

Northwest Crops & Soils Program

The University of Vermont Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Program conducted an organic silage corn variety trial in 2018 to provide unbiased performance comparisons of commercially available varieties. With the expansion of the organic dairy industry in our region there is increased interest in organic corn silage production. To determine varieties that are best suited to this production system and our region’s climate, we evaluated 11 commercially available organic corn silage varieties. It is important to remember that the data presented are from a replicated research trial from only one location in Vermont and represent only one season. Crop ...


Non-Gmo Corn Silage Variety Trial, Heather Darby, Sara Ziegler, Lindsey Ruhl Jan 2018

Non-Gmo Corn Silage Variety Trial, Heather Darby, Sara Ziegler, Lindsey Ruhl

Northwest Crops & Soils Program

In 2018, the University of Vermont Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Program evaluated yield and quality of 12 non-GMO corn silage varieties at Bridgeman View Farm in Franklin, VT. A non-GMO milk market has prompted some dairy farmers to start growing corn silage that has not been genetically modified. Conventional farmers have countless corn silage varieties available supported by performance data and trait information. To successfully convert to growing non-GMO corn, farmers are looking for more information on non-GMO varieties that are available and perform well in our region. While the information presented can begin to describe the yield and ...


New York And Vermont Corn Silage Hybrid Trials, Joseph Lawrence, Allison Kerwin, Thomas Overton, Heather Darby, Margaret Smith, Michael Van Amburgh, Michael Dineen, Sherrie Norman, Keith Payne, Dan Fisher, Sara Ziegler Jan 2018

New York And Vermont Corn Silage Hybrid Trials, Joseph Lawrence, Allison Kerwin, Thomas Overton, Heather Darby, Margaret Smith, Michael Van Amburgh, Michael Dineen, Sherrie Norman, Keith Payne, Dan Fisher, Sara Ziegler

Northwest Crops & Soils Program

The corn silage hybrid evaluation program expanded to 77 hybrids in 2018. Hybrid evaluation at multiple environments helps in decision making and expands the reach of this type of data to more farmers. With this in mind Cornell, UVM, and seed companies collaborate to bring this robust evaluation. This year, hybrids were either entered into the 80-95 day relative maturity (RM) group (Early-Mid) and were tested at two locations in NY (n = 20; Hu-Lane Farm in Albion and the Willsboro Research Farm in Willsboro) and one location in VT (n = 20; Borderview Farm in Alburgh) or were entered into the ...


An Autothermal, Representative Scale Test Of Compost Heat Potential Using Geostatistical Analysis, William J. Mccune-Sanders Jan 2018

An Autothermal, Representative Scale Test Of Compost Heat Potential Using Geostatistical Analysis, William J. Mccune-Sanders

Graduate College Dissertations and Theses

Composting has been practiced for thousands of years as a way of stabilizing and recycling organic matter into useful soil amendments. Thermophilic compost releases significant amounts of heat at temperatures (~140 °F) that are useful for environmental heating or process water. This heat has been taken advantage of in various ways throughout history, but development of a widely adopted technology remains elusive.

The biggest barrier to adoption of compost heat recovery (CHR) systems is projecting accurate, attractive economic returns. The cost of transfer equipment is significant, and with variability in composting substrates and methods, it is difficult to predict the ...


Can Urban And Peri-Urban Agriculture Create Food Sovereign Communities? Case Studies In Cuba And Burlington, Vt, Bennett Lafond Jan 2018

Can Urban And Peri-Urban Agriculture Create Food Sovereign Communities? Case Studies In Cuba And Burlington, Vt, Bennett Lafond

Graduate College Dissertations and Theses

Case studies from Cuba's Urban and Peri-Urban agriculture (UPA) revolution show that urban growing can fuel locally driven production of essential foods with minimal inputs, creating unprecedented opportunities for community food sovereignty. The fact that Cuba produces 60-70% of its vegetable needs on 25% of the land shows that the barriers that UPA faces are more sociopolitical than agronomic. As an agricultural hub with an abundance of rural land within close proximity of the city, the need for UPA in Burlington, VT may not be as readily apparent. When compared to nearby small vegetable growers through the lens of ...


Governing Environmental And Economic Flows In Regional Food Systems, Michael Bishop Wironen Jan 2018

Governing Environmental And Economic Flows In Regional Food Systems, Michael Bishop Wironen

Graduate College Dissertations and Theses

Globalization, specialization, and intensification have transformed the global food system, generating material flows and impacts that span multiple scales and levels, presenting novel governance challenges. Many argue for a transition toward a sustainable food system, although the scope and specific goals are fiercely contested. Theory and method is needed to evaluate competing normative claims and build legitimacy.

In this dissertation Vermont serves as a case study to investigate how environmental and economic flows impact regional governance, focusing on efforts to manage agricultural phosphorus to achieve water quality goals. A material flow account is developed to estimate phosphorus flows embedded in ...


"Teamwork Makes The Dream Work": Investigating The Impact Of Social Capital In The Tampa Bay, Fl Community Food System, Monica Petrella Jan 2018

"Teamwork Makes The Dream Work": Investigating The Impact Of Social Capital In The Tampa Bay, Fl Community Food System, Monica Petrella

Graduate College Dissertations and Theses

The research in this thesis investigates the relationship between social capital and the ability of a community food system (CFS) to contribute to broad community development goals. Social capital is understood to be an intangible resource that proliferates from strong relationships stocked with trust, reciprocity, and cohesiveness.

This research presents a journey through the literature to provide an overview of community food systems, the anticipated benefits that can result from adequate expansion, and how the concept of "embeddedness" contributes to development between the CFS and the community at large. The concept of social capital is introduced and discussed as previous ...


Labor On Vermont Dairy Farms: A Producer Perspective, Emily Irwin Jan 2018

Labor On Vermont Dairy Farms: A Producer Perspective, Emily Irwin

Graduate College Dissertations and Theses

To compete with larger, more efficient dairy farms, build resilience against increasingly volatile milk prices, and increase farm income, farms in traditional dairy states such as New York, Wisconsin, and Vermont, have been forced to expand their herds and increase production. Many dairy farmers do not have formal training in human resources management, and find the transition to a larger, non-family workforce to be challenging. In addition, farmers who have transitioned to a primarily Latinx workforce also face considerable cultural and language barriers. The quality of human resource management can have a significant impact on a farm business, and evidence ...


Climate Change And Food Systems: Assessing Impacts And Opportunities, Meredith T. Niles, Richie Ahuja, Jimena M. Esquivel, Nelson Mango, Mil Duncan, Martin Heller, Cristina Tirado Nov 2017

Climate Change And Food Systems: Assessing Impacts And Opportunities, Meredith T. Niles, Richie Ahuja, Jimena M. Esquivel, Nelson Mango, Mil Duncan, Martin Heller, Cristina Tirado

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Asthma In Vermont Dairy Farmers, Wyll T. Everett, Victoria Lauren Close, Rebecca Merriam-Stelfox, Sravana Paladugu, Jacob B. Reibel, Ruby L. Russell, Rebecca Ryan, David Kaminsky Jan 2017

Asthma In Vermont Dairy Farmers, Wyll T. Everett, Victoria Lauren Close, Rebecca Merriam-Stelfox, Sravana Paladugu, Jacob B. Reibel, Ruby L. Russell, Rebecca Ryan, David Kaminsky

Public Health Projects, 2008-present

Introduction. Although 5.4% of the Vermont population participates in agriculture as an occupation, little data exists on the prevalence of asthma in Vermont dairy farmers, due to inadequate sample sizes. Previous studies have shown dairy farmers are at risk of respiratory illness due to unique exposures intrinsic to their occupation. We conducted a study to assess the prevalence of asthma in dairy farmers in Vermont, to understand rates among this population and potential occupational risks.

Methods. We distributed a paper survey modeled after previously-validated surveys, such as the BRFSS, to farmers at Vermont Farmer Bureau meetings, farmers markets, and ...


Maximizing Forage Yields In Corn Silage Systems With Winter Grains, Heather Darby, Sara Ziegler, Abha Gupta, Lindsey Ruhl Jan 2017

Maximizing Forage Yields In Corn Silage Systems With Winter Grains, Heather Darby, Sara Ziegler, Abha Gupta, Lindsey Ruhl

Northwest Crops & Soils Program

Producing sufficient high quality forage on farms is becoming difficult given current economic and environmental pressures. Farmers are looking for strategies to improve yield and quality of their own forage to reduce the financial burden of purchasing feed off-farm. In addition, with increasing focus on managing farm nutrient balances for environmental reasons, farmers are also looking to decrease the importation of additional nutrients from feed onto their farms. One strategy for accomplishing this is utilizing winter grains, such as rye, wheat and triticale, as forage crops. These crops could be grazed or harvested in the fall to extend the grazing ...


The Effects Of Seed Steam Treatment On Dry Bean Yield And Quality, Heather Darby, Erica Cummings Jan 2017

The Effects Of Seed Steam Treatment On Dry Bean Yield And Quality, Heather Darby, Erica Cummings

Northwest Crops & Soils Program

Dry beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), a high-protein pulse crop, have been grown in the Northeast since the 1800’s. As the local food movement expands, consumers have requested stores stock more and more locally produced foods, and heirloom dry beans are no exception. Currently, the demand for heirloom dry beans has exceeded the supply. Farmers are interested in starting or scaling up dry bean production but require assistance in overcoming production barriers. Local farmers have struggled to obtain consistent high yields and quality. Growers’ lack of success with dry beans can be attributed to limitations in acquiring quality seed, poor stand ...


Corn Cropping Systems To Improve Economic And Environmental Health, Heather Darby, Lindsey Ruhl, Sara Ziegler, Julija Cubins, Abha Gupta Jan 2017

Corn Cropping Systems To Improve Economic And Environmental Health, Heather Darby, Lindsey Ruhl, Sara Ziegler, Julija Cubins, Abha Gupta

Northwest Crops & Soils Program

In 2017, UVM Extension’s Northwest Crops & Soils Program continued a multi-year trial at Borderview Research Farm in Alburgh, VT to assess the impact of corn cropping systems on overall health and productivity of the crop and soil. Yields are important and they affect the bottom line immediately and obviously. Management choices involving crop rotation, tillage, nutrient management, and cover crops also make differences in the long term. Growing corn with practices that enhance soil quality and crop yields improves farm resiliency to both economics and the environment. This project evaluated yield and soil health effects of five different corn ...


Non-Gmo Corn Silage Variety Trial, Heather Darby, Sara Ziegler, Erica Cummings, Abha Gupta, Lindsey Ruhl Jan 2017

Non-Gmo Corn Silage Variety Trial, Heather Darby, Sara Ziegler, Erica Cummings, Abha Gupta, Lindsey Ruhl

Northwest Crops & Soils Program

In 2017, the University of Vermont Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Program evaluated yield and quality of 11 non-GMO corn silage varieties in Franklin, VT. An emerging non-GMO milk market has prompted some dairy farmers to start growing non-GMO corn. To successfully convert to growing non- GMO corn, farmers are looking for more information on non-GMO varieties that are available and perform well in our region. While the information presented can begin to describe the yield and quality performance of these non-GMO corn silage varieties in this region, it is important to note that the data represent results from only ...


Summer Annual Variety Trial, Heather Darby, Sara Ziegler, Erica Cummings, Abha Gupta Jan 2017

Summer Annual Variety Trial, Heather Darby, Sara Ziegler, Erica Cummings, Abha Gupta

Northwest Crops & Soils Program

Warm season grasses, such as sudangrass, and millet can provide quality forage in the hot summer months, when the cool season grasses enter dormancy and decline in productivity. The addition of summer annuals into a rotation can provide a harvest of high-quality forage for stored feed or grazing during this critical time. Generally, summer annuals germinate quickly, grow rapidly, are drought resistant, and have high productivity and flexibility in utilization. The UVM Extension Northwest Crops and Soils team conducted this variety trial to evaluate the yield and quality of warm season annual grasses.


Hop Harvest Timing, Heather Darby, John Bruce, Scott Lewins Jan 2017

Hop Harvest Timing, Heather Darby, John Bruce, Scott Lewins

Northwest Crops & Soils Program

In the Northeast, hop harvest generally begins in mid-August and continues through mid-September. Harvest date is primarily dependent on the hop variety but weather can delay or hasten maturation and impact when harvest will occur. In addition to weather, various pests, such as spider mites and downy mildew, can similarly impact harvest timing. The time at which you harvest hops can affect the various qualities of your finished product. Alpha and beta acid content peaks before many essential oils have fully developed. Delaying harvest can provide time for these oils to develop but increases the amount of time the hops ...


Non-Gmo Corn Silage Performance Trial Summary, Heather Darby Jan 2017

Non-Gmo Corn Silage Performance Trial Summary, Heather Darby

Northwest Crops & Soils Program

Conducted by Dr. Heather Darby and the University of Vermont Northwest Crops and Soils Program

Silage corn at Bridgeman View Farm, Franklin, Vermont

Planting Date: 5/24/2017

Harvest Date: 10/18/2017


Heirloom Dry Bean Variety Trial, Heather Darby, Erica Cummings Jan 2017

Heirloom Dry Bean Variety Trial, Heather Darby, Erica Cummings

Northwest Crops & Soils Program

Dry beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), a high-protein pulse crop, have been grown in the Northeast since the 1800’s. As the local food movement continues to diversify and expand, consumers are asking stores to carry more and more locally-produced foods, and dry beans are no exception. Currently, the demand for heirloom dry beans has far exceeded the supply. In an effort to support and expend the local bean market throughout the northeast, the University of Vermont Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Program, established a third year of trials in 2017 to evaluate heirloom dry bean varieties to see which ones thrive ...


Using Winter Rye As Forage In Corn Silage Systems, Heather Darby, Sara Ziegler, Nate Brigham, Julija Cubins, Abha Gupta Jan 2017

Using Winter Rye As Forage In Corn Silage Systems, Heather Darby, Sara Ziegler, Nate Brigham, Julija Cubins, Abha Gupta

Northwest Crops & Soils Program

Producing sufficient high quality forage throughout the year is becoming difficult given current economic and environmental pressures. Farmers are looking for strategies to improve yield and quality of their own forage to reduce the financial burden of purchasing feed off-farm. In addition, with increasing focus on managing farm nutrient balances for environmental reasons, farmers are also looking to decrease the importation of additional nutrients from feed onto their farms. One strategy for accomplishing this is utilizing winter grains, such as winter rye, as forage crops. These crops could be grazed or harvested in the fall to extend the grazing season ...


Industrial Grain Hemp Planting Date Trial, Heather Darby, Abha Gupta, Erica Cummings, Lindsey Ruhl, Sara Ziegler Jan 2017

Industrial Grain Hemp Planting Date Trial, Heather Darby, Abha Gupta, Erica Cummings, Lindsey Ruhl, Sara Ziegler

Northwest Crops & Soils Program

Hemp is a non-psychoactive variety of cannabis sativa L. The crop is one of historical importance in the U.S. and reemerging in worldwide importance as manufacturers seek hemp as a renewable and sustainable resource for a wide variety of consumer and industrial products. The crop produces a valuable oilseed, rich in Omega-3 and other essential fatty acids that are often absent in western diets. When the oil is extracted from the seed, what remains is a marketable meal co-product, which is used for human and animal consumption. The fiber has high tensile strength and can be used to create ...