We are not commercial farmers, but are landowners with a mix of woodlands
and hayfields. We have not had the fields mowed commercially for a while,
as it's harder to find a farmer who is willing to not cut hay during the
nesting seasons, so we have been doing our own brush hogging of the
fields. As retirees, the costs are getting more significant, so we
thought we'd check to see if this qualifies. We are in southern Windsor
County, town of Chester. Total acreage is about 187 acres in one
property, with a total of around 8 acres in fields; the other property,
not quite contiguous with the first, is around 45 acres, with about 20
acres in fields and an old apple orchard. We mow the fields very late in
the summer to early or late fall, depending on when we get to it, though
we have been doing some earlier (July) mowing in the field by the house,
to get young milkweed regenerating for Monarch butterfly use (female
Monarchs prefer younger milkweed for laying their eggs). It's a
trade-off, we know, between Monarchs and field-nesting birds, but we try
to balance that by doing the milkweed mowing as late as possible to allow
the field-nesting birds to fledge, and still getting the milkweed
secondary growth advanced enough by "Monarch season" to be useful to the
Don and Nina Huffer
525 Popple Dungeon Rd.
Chester, VT 05143
> ...as a follow-up to the Bobolink Project announcement:
> Volunteer Farmers Paid $150 for 2 hours to participate in Decision Making
> Workshop on Conservation for Farm Business and Economics.
> We are seeking farmers who have hayfields or pasture of 10 acres or more
> in Vermont and who would be willing to consider managing a 10-acre field
> for safe nesting of grassland birds for profit. For this Workshop, we are
> only looking for 10-acres as part or all of a single field. Up to 3
> farmers/landowners will be selected to have a field placed in a contract
> (if farmers agree) with a price determined by the Workshop process. The
> University of Connecticut (UCONN), with assistance from UVM Extension, is
> conducting a project to identify better ways to create profitable markets
> for farmers delivering conservation benefits - and the team needs
> participation and farmer input. This project is not about farmers donating
> habitat. It is about helping make conservation part of farm profit.
> This Workshop involves both research and conservation objectives: your
> participation will help us test ways to pay farmers through conservation
> auctions; and the Workshop will select up to three farmers to sign a
> contract, if agreed, with UCONN for managing hayfields for grassland birds
> in Summer 2018. While these contracts would require grassland
> management similar to the Bobolink Project, these contracts are completely
> independent from that project; Mass Audubon, Audubon Vermont, Audubon
> Connecticut, and New Hampshire Audubon are not part of this Workshop.
> The Workshop will offer contracts to up to 3 farmers/fields based on
> criteria unique to the Workshop. This Workshop is expected to be the last
> one of 2018, and is not anticipated to be repeated in future years.
> If this Workshop is of interest to you, then we invite you for this
> two-hour decision-making session. All participants will receive $150 for
> participation and could earn up to another $100 (average) based on your
> choices during the decision-making session. Previous participants have
> found Workshop sessions "interesting," finding it involves unique
> approaches to creating markets that can stimulate conservation farming as
> a part of agricultural business.
> Where: 103 Aiken Center, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405
> When: May 10th, from 2.30 to 4.30 pm.
> (Space and funding is limited, so sending an RSVP is essential. Let us
> know by May 9th if you are able to join us by sending an email to mailto:
> [log in to unmask]
> What to expect during the Workshop:
> The primary purpose of the decision-making session is to test competitive
> processes to set a price to pay landowners who manage their fields for
> grassland birds.
> a. The university team will ask you to make an offer - that you are
> comfortable with - to enroll a 10-acre hayfield to manage for grassland
> birds during Summer of 2018 under different pricing rules.
> b. The management involves no harvesting on the enrolled piece of land
> during one of the two time periods
> - May 18 through August 1 (75 days)
> - June 1 through August 15 (75 days)
> c. Of course, your offer is voluntary and reflects a price that you feel
> comfortable with.
> d. There will also be a segment where the researcher will provide you
> hypothetical situations to elaborate each pricing rule, so that you can
> make informed decisions while making an offer involving your field.
> e. At the end of all sessions, the team will select up to 3 offers from
> all the participants to implement in real fields.