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Champlain Valley Crops, Soils & Pastures – BLOG PAGE

Meet the Team

Posted: May 29th, 2012 by Champlain Valley Crop, Soil and Pasture Team

Meet Your Champlain Valley Crop, Soil and Pasture Team!



23 Pond Lane, Suite 300 | Middlebury, VT 05753


(802) 388-4969 | champlain.crops@uvm.edu

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Agronomy Specialist: Field Crops & Nutrient Management
(802) 388-4969 ext. 332

Jeff Carter has worked with farmers all around Vermont regarding crop production including corn, alfalfa, pasture, Christmas trees and wildlife food plots. For 27 years he has provided information on using fertilizer, manure and pesticides; how to grow crops and take care of the soil and; nutrient management planning to meet farm regulations. Jeff works with commercial farmers, backyard growers and public officials to promote agriculture.

As a UVM Extension Faculty member, Jeff leads the Team out of the Middlebury Extension office.  He procures grant funding, provides direction for the team and is the foundation for the work the team does to serve the needs of agricultural producers in the Champlain Valley and beyond.

See Jeff’s Faculty Profile HERE.

Jeff is a Certified Crop Adviser.



Agronomy Outreach Professional
(802) 388-4969 x338

Rico Balzano  grew up in New Jersey and attended Rutgers University where he earned a bachelor of science degree in plant sciences. For two summers during college, he worked for Rutgers Cooperative Extension as a fruit and vegetable integrated pest management scout. Since graduation, Balzano has worked for a number of commercial agricultural enterprises, including apple and peach orchards, a wine grape vineyard and an organic vegetable farm. He also spent two years as an agricultural technician in New York City’s watershed working with dairy and livestock farmers to reduce nutrient levels in the drinking water supply. Rico is part of the Agronomy Conservation Assistance Program (ACAP), assisting farmers in the central portion of the Lake Champlain Basin.  He helps administer the Livestock Exclusion cost-share program, assists farms with Nutrient Management Planning, manages the AerWay aerator that is available to farmers, assists with the No Till Drill project, and is the team’s mapping/GIS expert.

Rico, his wife, and their young son live and farm at Little Lake Orchard in Wells, VT.

Rico is a Certified Crop Adviser.


Agronomy Outreach Professional
(802) 388-4969 ext. 347

Kirsten works with farmers to implement practices to improve crop production and protect water quality. She started her career in Washington State working for the Mason Conservation District and Washington State University Extension. After 10 years of working with West Coast farmers, she joined the UVM Extension staff in 2011, and hopes to provide practical information that farmers value. She helps farmers understand the importance of Nutrient Management and assists them in preparing and implementing comprehensive nutrient management plans, and lately has been working on cover cropping systems for Vermont farms.  She also helps farmers access cost-share funding to implement Best Management Practices on their farms. Kirsten manages the Team’s monthly e-newsletter, Facebook page, YouTube channel, and this website.

Kirsten lives in the Winooski watershed with her husband and two young children, Johnny & Ruby. She enjoys exploring her new home state of Vermont with her family and is excited to have access to some prime Vermont farmland, where she is able to raise more (and larger) livestock than she was able to in the temperate rainforest of Washington State.

Kirsten is a Certified Crop Adviser.


Grazing Outreach Professional
(802) 388-4969 x346

Cheryl is the team’s resident grazing expert.  She works with farmers to get the most out their pastures…balancing the needs of people, plants, animals, and water quality.  She prepares grazing plans for beef, dairy and other livestock producers, setting up these farms to be as profitable as possible while utilizing one of Vermont’s best crops…Pasture!

Before joining UVM Extension as a Grazing Outreach Professional, Cheryl spent eight years with the Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) certification program (part of NOFA-VT) and graduated with a degree in Animal Science from the University of New Hampshire and a Master’s degree from the University of Vermont in Plant and Soil Science. Her agricultural experiences include vegetable farm and greenhouse management, seasonal orchard work, and relief milking on dairy farms.

She and her husband Marc graze cows, pigs and chickens at their farm, Meeting Place Pastures, in Cornwall, VT.  They direct market their meat and eggs to families and restaurants across New England.

Cheryl is a Certified Crop Adviser.


Agronomy Outreach Professional – Poultney-Mettowee Natural Resource Conservation District
(802) 287-2250

Jennifer grew up on a small dairy farm in Hampton NY. She graduated from Castleton State with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Natural Science and a minor in Business. She has 17 years experience in customer service and 12 yrs experience in the horticultural industry and is currently manages a 1/2 acre garden with roadside stand with plans to expand. Jennifer has also worked for the Agency of Natural Resources in the Water Quality Department and has been employed by the Poultney Mettowee Natural Resource Conservation District since 2005 assisting farmers with nutrient management and water quality issues.

Jennifer is a Certified Crop Adviser.


Research Field Technician
(802) 388-4969 x337

Daniel has lived in Castleton, Vermont for nearly ten years and graduated from Castleton State College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies.  He also has spent time working on vegetable and dairy farms.   Daniel has been working with farmers doing soil sampling as well as monitoring the No-Till Drills.  In his free time he likes to ski or be out on the lake bass fishing.






Smith_Michelle_closeupMICHELLE SMITH
Research Field Technician\GIS Specialist
(802) 388-4969 x348

Michelle is a Massachusetts native who earned her degree in Environmental Studies with focuses in biology and geology. After graduating from Green Mountain College, she went to work with USDA Farm Service Agency and then the Vermont Association of Conservation Districts where she has worked with the farming community for almost eight years. In her work with the agricultural community, most recently Michelle has assisted farmers with implementation of voluntary conservation practices under the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) using GIS as an important planning and tracking tool.  She attributes her life-long love of the environment and nature largely to her parents, who always encouraged her to explore the outdoors through backpacking, hiking, and family canoe trips.  Michelle comes to Extension as a Research Field Technician\GIS Specialist to assist with mapping practices implemented by local farmers and the Champlain Valley Crop, Soil, and Pasture Team.


LINDSElindsey picY RUHL
Research Field Technician
(802) 388-4969

Lindsey Ruhl is a Master’s candidate in UVM’s Plant and Soil Science Department. Her research focuses on how soil fertility is effected by flooding and how cover crops can be used to remediate soils damaged by flooding. She has worked on a small organic vegetable farm in Burlington’s Intervale for four seasons and spent a summer working in PSU’s weed ecology lab. She is working with Middlebury extension part-time throughout the summer and into the fall as a field technician.


Research Field Technician
(802) 388-4969

Kristin enjoys assisting with a multifaceted group of assignments in Extension, with the aim of helping farmer’s create and maintain more sustainable systems on their farm, with a particular focus on soil conservation and nutrient management. Kristin holds a B.S. in Environmental Science and a M.S. in Plant and Soil Science, both from the University of Vermont. Her graduate research focused on biological indicators of soil health, in particular nematode ecology. That work exposed her to the critical value of the living fraction of the soil and Kristin is interested in how soil ecology is measured and sustained. Her work in nutrient management began as an intern with Ben & Jerry’s as an undergraduate. However, the roots of her passion for soil science began while playing and working on the farm she grew up on in Vermont. In general she enjoys work that makes research applicable to real world solutions, and she takes a multidisciplinary approach that has led her to work in transportation, sociology and applied economics. Kristin is currently employed part time in the Community Development and Applied Economics Department at UVM (under Kathleen Liang), integrating environmental assessments on farms with social and economic perspectives. In her free time she loves to hike and holds a passion for local food that extends into her love of gardening, farmer’s markets, and cooking.


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