The Vermont Hay Company sincerely appreciates the opportunity we have had to work with Baum Farm. The Baums have taught us an extensive amount regarding the production of top-notch hay. Their innovativeness is inspirational. It has long term benefits for the rural economy, the future of agriculture in rural northeastern Vermont and the preservation of our much-loved working landscape.
The Baum Farm is in Canaan, Vermont and owned by Rob and Sharon Baum. Canaan is found in the furthest corner of northeastern Vermont, adjacent the Canadian border, and backed up to Monadnock Mountain. This is the most rural corner of Vermont. With few employment opportunities offering a livable wage, it is also the poorest.
The farm sits along the Connecticut River, an American Heritage River, which defines the border between Vermont and New Hampshire. Typical of river bottomland, the soil is designated “prime” for agricultural use. Since 2005, the Baums have been reclaiming abandoned cropland and restoring fertility to 124 acres of hay fields. The Baums apply wood ash, lime and manure to build up the soil that makes it possible to produce the highest grade Timothy hay. As a USDA certified organic grower, no pesticides or chemical fertilizers are applied to the land.
In driving along the Connecticut River it is evident that numerous farms once existed along this stretch of quality farmland. Left unfarmed it is vulnerable to non-agricultural development. With agriculture and value-added enterprises the fastest growing sector of the Vermont economy, the loss of farmland to development diminishes the possibility of creating economic growth and job creation.
The Vermont Hay Company is pleased to be creating a new market for organic hay. We believe very strongly that we can contribute to the future of the working landscape by making it feasible for other growers to reclaim and preserve once operational farmland.
“The Vermont Hay Company’s partnership with Baum Farm is a great example of Vermonters collaborating together so we can keep our land working for future generations.”
Paul Costello, Executive Director
Vermont Working Lands Partnership
The Vermont Council on Rural Development