Five Vermont ag leaders will be inducted into the Vermont Agricultural Hall of Fame next month.
This year’s inductees are Joanna Samuelson Lidback, Marie Audet, Bill Rowell, and Jack and Anne Lazor. Inductees will be honored at a luncheon at noon on Aug. 28 at the Champlain Valley Expo.
The ag hall of fame, located inside the Miller Building at the Champlain Valley Expo, can be viewed during the Champlain Valley Fair and other events throughout the year.
Now in its 17th year, 80 Vermont ag leaders have been inducted into the hall of fame.
Here are brief bios of this year’s inductees:
Joanna Samuelson Lidback, Emerging Leader
Samuelson Lidback is a farmer, agricultural business consultant, 4-H volunteer and family farm advocate. Together with her husband, Adam, they own The Farm at Wheeler Mountain, a family dairy located in Westmore.
BUSINESS SPECIALIST: Joanna Samuelson Lidback is an agricultural business consultant for Yankee Farm Credit. (Photo courtesy of Champlain Valley Expo)
She earned a bachelor’s degree in applied economics and business management from Cornell and a Master of Business Administration from Babson F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business.
She is a business consultant for Yankee Farm Credit, helping dairy farmers with the challenges of developing business, estate and succession plans.
Her love of farming extends well-beyond the boundaries of Vermont. She is a board member of the Global Farmer Network, a nonprofit advocacy group led by farmers from around the world. She has also testified on behalf of Vermont farmers before the U.S. House and Agriculture Committee, and the Senate Agriculture Committee.
Samuelson Lidback won the American Jersey Cattle Association’s Young Jersey Breeder Award in 2016. She was also an active member of the Agri-Mark Young Cooperators Program and served as a YC Representative from 2012-15.
Samuelson Lidback is also active in the Vermont Farm Bureau and currently serves as first vice president of Orleans County Farm Bureau.
She and her husband are raising three young children on the farm.
Marie Audet, Ag Innovator
Audet is a farmer, agricultural advocate, and sustainability leader from Bridport. She runs, along with her husband, Eugene, and their multigenerational family, Blue Spruce Farm, an Agrimark dairy encompassing more than 3,500 acres.
AG INNOVATOR: Marie Audet’s Blue Spruce Farm was the first farm in the state to participate in Green Mountain Power’s Cow Power initiative. (Photo courtesy of Champlain Valley Expo)
Audet believes farmers are integral to tackling climate change and has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of on-farm conservation and sustainability in the state.
Blue Spruce was the first farm to participate in Green Mountain Power’s Cow Power initiative. The Audets currently power nearly 400 area homes with the energy captured by the farm’s biodigester. They’ve also installed a 100-kilowatt wind turbine on the farm.
The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy awarded Audet and her family the first-ever National Award for Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability. Renewable Energy Vermont also honored Audet with the prestigious Jim Grundy award.
Marie Audet is a founding member of the Champlain Valley Farmers Coalition, where farmers of all types and sizes are dedicated to protecting water quality and soil health while building resiliency from the effects of climate change.
Joining forces with the Franklin & Grand Isle, and Connecticut River farmer water quality groups, they are developing a system that could potentially monitor, evaluate and monetize ecosystem services provided by agriculture.
Marie and Eugene Audet raised their two children on the farm and today enjoy sharing family time on the farm with their grandchildren.
Bill Rowell, Lifetime Achievement
Rowell is a dairy farmer and agricultural advocate from Franklin County who farms with his brother’s family — Brian, Tammy, Matthew and Megan — at Green Mountain Dairy Farm in Sheldon.
LIFELONG AG-VOCATE: Bill Rowell has played a leadership role in Vermont agriculture for many years. In 2008, Green Mountain Dairy was named Vermont's Dairy Farm of the Year. (Photo courtesy of Champlain Valley Expo)
Rowell has played a leadership role in Vermont agriculture for many years. He was raised on a dairy farm in Albany, Vt., and served in the U.S. Navy as an air traffic controller in the Vietnam era, and was honorably discharged.
He received his undergraduate degree in history and political science from Johnson State College and attended graduate school at Old Dominion University, where he studied urban and environmental planning.
In an effort to give the general public an opportunity to visit and understand today's farm, Green Mountain Dairy has hosted tours for more than 31,000 visitors from 44 countries over the past 12 years.
In 2008, Green Mountain Dairy was named Vermont's Dairy Farm of the Year.
Rowell was appointed by former Gov. Jim Douglas to serve on Green Mountain Power's Executive Committee for Rural Development and is a founding member and board chairman of Vermont Dairy Producer's Alliance.
He also served as chairman of National Dairy Producer's Organization, was a member of Vermont's Dairy Task Force and was a founding member of Dairy Farmers Working Together.
Rowell has spent countless hours advocating on behalf of farmers and agriculture, from Montpelier to Washington, D.C. He and his wife, Nancy, are proud parents and grandparents.
Jack and Anne Lazor, Lifetime Achievement
Jack and Anne Lazor began farming in 1976. For more than 40 years they have built a reputation for producing outstanding organic yogurt, stewarding the land and advocating for organic agriculture.
Their Butterworks Farm grass-fed yogurt is sold in nearly 80 grocery stories and co-ops across Vermont and in neighboring states.
The Lazors have been a steadfast team in farming, family and life. Jack is a teacher and a member of the “Agrarian Elders,” a group of 24 pioneers considered to be the founders of organic agriculture in the U.S. Over the years, both he and Anne have devoted themselves to teaching the next generation of farmers how to raise animals, steward the land, and produce products ethically and sustainably.
Farming is a family affair for the Lazors, who raised their daughter, Christine, together at Butterworks. Today, the Lazors enjoy sharing their love of agriculture and Butterworks Farm with their grandchildren.Source: Champlain Valley Ag Expo, 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.