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May 2017


VT AgrAbility client LeslieVermont AgrAbility continues to be very proud of their peer-to-peer program: peers supporting other peers that have experienced the same type of disabilities. One of those is Leslie, who at the age of 76, continues to supervise his 65-head Holstein milking herd. These days he does that from a walker and a Polaris Ranger side-by-side utility vehicle. Leslie supports his fellow farmers by being a mentor and supporter to someone who has chronic hip problems. Recently, Leslie came back to AgrAbility for some additional support himself. He has found that he has had to hire additional help because of his disability, which is making his farm profit margin very low. So, Vermont AgrAbility helped him put together a plan to convert his herd to organic, this being a three-year commitment to convert the farm. When asked if he wanted to do such a long-range program, he said, "Yes! Of course I'm going to sell the development rights to the conservation easement board and I will use that money to continue the farm until it is certified organic; then I will turn it over to a nephew or another young couple to keep my farm in agriculture."

Vermonters would say Leslie is a true Vermonter.

Submitted by Tom Younkman