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‘Fantastic Farmer’ Award Headlines Efforts to Support Vermont Farmers

October 21, 2022
Baird Farm Maple

A. Pizzagalli Family Farm Fund backs three important programs with significant awards

October 21, 2022 | Montpelier, VT – On a hillside in Chittenden, Vermont, a 104 year-old family-farm surrounded by a forest of maples has earned the second annual ‘Fantastic Farmer’ title and a significant award of $5000 from the A.Pizzagalli Family Farm Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation

Jenna Baird of Baird Farm Maple was chosen to receive this special award for her commitment to sustainable agriculture, land-use diversity, and environmental stewardship.  Jenna, her partner Jacob Powsner, and extended family also raise Christmas trees and cut flowers, as well as hosting a local beef cattle operation.

"This award lifts up the work of farmers in our rural Vermont economy. Oftentimes that work goes unseen, so we feel this award is so important because it celebrates that real food comes from real farms,” said Jenna Baird.  “This award will be put to good use so that on our farm we can continue to make and share our food and products with Vermonters and tourists alike!"

The ‘Fantastic Farmer’ title is the latest award this year supported by the A.Pizzagalli Family Farm Fund.  Including the Vermont Barn Painting Project and the Milk Quality Awards, the mission of the Fund is to support farmer efforts to grow their business, cultivate, and deliver their products to the consumer, in a way that respects the heritage, culture, and stewardship that our farmers and farming community strive for every day. 

In May, the Vermont Dairy Industry Association (VDIA) announced the 2021 Vermont Milk Quality Awards supported by the A.Pizzagalli Family Farm Fund.  The awards recognize the dairy farmers that produced Vermont's best quality milk in 2021 and are designed to encourage professionalism and quality in the industry while recognizing the hard work dairy farmers contribute for Vermont. The awards were presented to:

  • 1st - David Houde – St. Johnsbury, VT - $2500
  • 2nd - Steven and Leslie Brown - East Burke, VT - $1500
  • 3rd - Howmars Farm |The Gates Family- Franklin, VT - $1000

Also this summer, barns in Pittsfield, Hardwick, Rutland and Marshfield all received a fresh coat of paint through the Vermont Barn Painting Project.  These barns each received a $10,000 investment from the A.Pizzagalli Family Farm Fund.  The Fund also invested in a separate barn painting in Rochester, to help preserve all five barns for future generations and improve their roadside appeal across Vermont, for their local communities, visitors and tourists. 

As a project of VDOL’s Vermont Youth Employment Program, the Vermont Barn Painting Project also provides an opportunity to train the next generation of Vermont’s workforce. Young Vermonters can participate in a paid work experience, gaining skills to help lay the foundation for a future career.  “This program is designed to help young Vermonters build skills and experience that will help them when they enter the job market. At the same time, participants are preserving these wonderful pieces of Vermont history, making this work experience even more meaningful and long lasting,” said Vermont Department of Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington. “This project helps connect Vermont’s future with its historic past, and the Department of Labor is proud to be a part of that effort.”

“The goal of the A. Pizzagalli Family Farm Fund is to support Vermont’s hard-working agricultural entrepreneurs and the youth helping to build our state’s economy,” said Lisa Pizzagalli.  “The Pizzagalli family thanks our farmers for their hard work and look forward to these programs benefitting more agricultural families in the coming years.”

 “We are grateful for the support of this fund. It’s meaningful to our youth, farmers & our rural economy. This generous program supports our working landscape and rewards farmers for their hard work,” said Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts. 

The Vermont Barn Painting Project, with support from the A. Pizzagalli Family Farm Fund and partners, will continue the program next year and beyond.  Any Vermont barn owner who may have interest in the program should visit the Vermont Barn Painting Project to learn more.  

For more information about any of these important programs, please contact:

Scott Waterman | Policy and Communications Director | Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

802-622-4662 |