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New England Green Pastures Award: Molly Brook Farm is a 70-cow, 565-acre operation in Cabot, Vt.

August 29, 2022

3 Min Read
Myles and Rhonda Goodrich stand by Molly Brook Farm sign
SUPERIOR JERSEYS: Myles and Rhonda Goodrich own and operate a 565-acre hillside farm, which has been in the same family since 1835. It has been a registered Jersey operation since 1917 and is renowned internationally for its superior Jersey genetics.Tony Kitsos

Editor’s note: Each year, the New England Green Pastures Award honors an outstanding dairy family from each New England state for its production and financial management, as well as its contribution to the local community. The award winners will be honored next month at the Eastern States Exposition (Big E) in West Springfield, Mass. Today’s feature is from Vermont.

Molly Brook Farm, a seventh-generation farm in Cabot, has been named the 2022 Vermont Dairy Farm of the Year.

Myles and Rhonda Goodrich own and operate the 565-acre hillside farm, which has been in the same family since 1835. It has been a registered Jersey operation since 1917 and is renowned internationally for its superior Jersey genetics.

Since 2018, it has been a successful certified organic dairy with a high-producing herd that has earned a number of quality milk awards from Stonyfield Organic.

The farmers milk 70 cows on a twice-daily schedule in a step-up walk-through milking parlor. Their rolling herd average is 14,939 pounds with 5% butterfat and 3.8% protein.

The milking herd is housed in a light-filled, 60-feet-by-160-feet freestall coverall barn. The herd is turned out to pasture between milking in the warmer months. Calves and cows dry off in an 1835 barn, one of the original structures on the farm.

Cow comfort is a top priority with kiln-dried sawdust for bedding on top of pasture mats, cow brushes for self-grooming, and fans for good ventilation. Spring-fed cow waterers are cleaned every few days.

Pasturing the animals has helped reduce the farm’s carbon footprint as they typically get four crops of hay each summer, which equates to 16 tractor trips over the 100-plus acres used for pasture. 

They average 575 round bales and more than 600 tons of haylage during the cropping season, which they supplement with organic grain from Morrison's Custom Feeds in Barnet. They also purchase 400 organic second-cut small bales from a local hay grower to feed the young stock.

The Goodriches raise their own replacement stock, breeding heifers to produce first calves at about 21 months of age. They strive for a calving interval of 12 months.

They breed year-round, although they prefer not to breed their animals to calve in January over concern for the cow. They work with a sire analyst to match the strengths of the bulls with each individual cow, breeding for good feet and legs, and for A2A2 genetic selection.

Their commitment to being good farmers extends to the community and beyond. They promote the dairy industry by hosting farm tours and have collaborated with the local Cabot School for on-farm work experiences for middle school students.

They are active participants in many of Stonyfield's promotional activities, including its "Date with a Cow" Valentine program in 2021, which allowed people to book a 15-minute virtual date with a cow from one of the farms that supplies milk for the company's yogurts.

This is the second time the farm has been named Vermont Dairy Farm of the Year. The first time was in 1987 when Myles’ parents, Walter and Sally Goodrich, operated the farm in partnership with Myles.

Source: University of Vermont Extension, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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