Hemp Fiber Outreach Recap

There was no shortage of hemp fiber outreach events in the Northeast this growing season. In May, UVM Extension’s hemp fiber specialist Laura Sullivan presented our previous year’s findings at the inaugural Northern New England Fibershed Round Table Event at Sanborn Mills Farm in Loudon, New Hampshire. In June, she held a soggy Lecture and Demo at Two Sisters Mill and Mercantile in Jeffersonville, Vermont.

Hemp Demo in Jeffersonville on June 17, 2023

In July, attendees of the 2023 Annual Crops and Soils Field Day at the Borderview Research Farm in Alburgh were invited to escape the rain and try their hand at hemp processing using antique hand tools after viewing a demo of Roger Rainville’s homemade decorticator.

Field Day Attendants at Borderview Farm on July 27, 2023

Early August brought sunshine and a hemp fiber event to Proctor, VT at the new headquarters of Zion Growers, located in the historic marble building. This event featured a demonstration of hempcrete block making by Green Designers Alex and Bob Escher. Artist and professor Steven Kostell also held a design thinking and ideation session for developing hemp fiber product types and product classifications with attendants. Attendants were enthusiastic to see the building live on as the new home of another one of Vermont’s natural resources.

In September, Laura Sullivan and hemp farm collaborator Andrea Myklebust attended Cornell University’s Hemp Field Day Event. In addition to seeing Cornell’s trial fields and several new prototypes of harvesting equipment, they were invited to tour the USDA germplasm trial fields in Geneva, and interface with industry leaders across the country.

Cornell's Larry Smart speaking in his research Trials on September 14, 2023

Early October saw hemp fiber represented at the Women Can Do Conference, which is held annually at Vermont Technical College in Randolph. Laura Sullivan attended with her regular repertoire of one hundred-year-old hand tools to show high school students and chaperones alike how to process hemp stalks into spinnable fibers.

Laura Sullivan at the Woman Can Do conference on October 5, 2023

Later in the month, she traveled to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck to represent both UVM and the Northern New England Fibershed with her fellow Fibershed representatives. Rhinebeck is an event that often attracts upwards of 30,000 fiber enthusiasts from all over the country. She and her small cohort of NNE Fibershed representatives were the only ones at the entire event to offer bast fiber education and were met with an outpouring of enthusiasm. They have since been awarded a microgrant to move forward with a New England Bast Fiber Mini Mill Feasability assessment, in which the UVM bast fiber research is playing a major part.

November and December might see a slowing down of public-facing events but an uptick of reporting, grant writing, and generating of educational materials to share with interested parties. Research farming is a year-round job that moves with the seasons. Before we know it, it will be time to gather genetics and begin the planning for the 2024 field season! For updates on future events and our research reports, check out our website

Beginning the Hemp Field Season

May 25, 2023 marked the planting date for our hemp fiber trials. This year represented a major expansion of our hemp fiber research.  Our goal is to learn more about practices that will help our farmers produce high quality fiber! Tinkering with varieties, seeding rates, crop rotations and retting times to start. All of this made possible by funding received from the USDA CARE & SARE Grant programs. Thank you!

This multi-year funding allows us enough time to learn, reflect, and perfect. In research farming, there are few opportunities for ‘do-overs’. Often, there is only one opening in the whole year to ‘get something right,’ and any edits to the experimental design must wait an entire year to be implemented. Our team must be intentional with our actions and reflective about what we would do differently in the next year to yield a more favorable outcome. That said, isn’t this what we all love about farming, and what keeps us coming back!? Over the course of this first year of expanded fiber research, much was learned, but like any well-designed experiment, follow-up questions and deeper inquiries have also risen to the surface. Stay tuned for the research reports that will be made available over winter, and for what may come next for hemp fiber in Vermont. Be sure to visit our website

Are you getting ready to order corn seed for 2024?

The NY & VT Corn Silage Hybrid Evaluation Program 2023 results are in! With 5 locations across NY & VT, these 75 hybrids were put to the test across a wide variety of growing conditions. While it was wet and soggy across much of VT this summer, other parts of the region experienced severe drought conditions. Comparing hybrid performance across such a range of environments provides valuable insight for selecting hybrids that perform consistently despite such variable conditions. Data on silage yield, predicted milk yield, and nitrogen utilization are presented for each test location in the full report which can be found here. Tables summarizing the results of the trials conducted just at the VT location can be found here (short season hybrids) and here (long season hybrids). You can view all our research results at

Changes to our Grains Laboratory

We have streamlined our grain submission forms. Instead of having separate forms for malting barley and other cereal grains, we have combined the forms into one single sample submission form. We’ve also combined some of our most popular testing combinations into packages that are available at a discount. None of the pricing for individual tests has changed.

Malting Barley Package: Grain Moisture, Test Weight, Starch, Protein, Plumpness, Germination Energy, Germination Capacity, and Water Sensitivity ($60, or $50 for Northern Grain Growers members)
Baking Quality Package: Grain Moisture, Test Weight, Starch, Protein, and Falling Number ($37, or $30 for Northern Grain Growers members)
Seed Quality Package: Germination Energy, Germination Capacity, and Seed Purity ($25, or $20 for Northern Grain Growers members)

View the current Sample Submission Form here.

Due to rising costs of lab supplies and decreasing volume of hops samples arriving, the E.E. Cummings Crop Testing lab will no longer be analyzing hops samples. We recommend Alliance Analytical Labs, Advanced Analytical Research, or Cornell AgriTech lab for your hops analysis needs. Please find links below for each of these locations for your convenience.
Alliance Analytical Labs,
Advanced Analytical Research,
Cornell AgriTech,

Please visit our lab website to download the current sample submission form. Please note that a google search for the submission form often links to older versions of the form that are no longer valid and have outdated testing options and pricing.

If you ever require grain or seed testing that is not on our menu of options, feel free to contact us about your testing needs and we’d be happy to discuss if we can provide the testing you need. Many of our additions to our analysis options have come from your requests for additional testing and we always strive to be able to meet all of our clients’ testing needs.

2023-2024 Soil Health Training for Technical Assistance Providers

2023-2024 Soil Health Training for Technical Assistance Providers(click to learn more)

The Franklin County Natural Resources Conservation District has been working with a team of advisors from UVM Extension, USDA-NRCS, Vermont Healthy Soils Coalition, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets, American Farmland Trust, and others, to create a soil health training course for technical assistance providers. The overarching goal of the training is to better prepare technical assistance providers for the assistance they will be providing to farmers, forest owners, and other land stewards in their roles with Natural Resources Conservation Districts, state and federal agencies, watershed groups, non profit organizations, and other related groups. This course was created to be directly applicable to the landscapes and land stewards in VT and the Lake Champlain Basin in NY.

Click here to Sign up for the Training Course which includes:

  •     One Fall 2023 Workshop on Tuesday, November 14, 2023: 9 am-2pm at the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) Farm at 1949 East Main Street, Richmond, VT 05477
  •     12 Winter 2023-2024 Webinars: Online on Tuesdays from 2-4 pm: 12/5, 12/12, 12/19, 1/9, 1/16, 1/23, 1/30, 2/6, 2/13, 2/20, 2/27, 3/5
  •     Four 2024 Field Season Workshops – TBD

​QUESTIONS? Please contact

Farmer’s Guide to Grass-fed Dairy Production

We are pleased to announce our Farmer’s Guide to Grass-fed Dairy Production is finally here! Over many years of learning through our own research and working alongside our wonderful farm partners, we have compiled the latest body of knowledge on grass-fed dairy management. The guide walks you through the ins and outs of grass-fed dairying from soil fertility and nutrient cycling, to forage production and quality, herd health and reproduction, farm financials, and more! You can find it digitally on our Grass-fed Dairy website or request an in-print copy by contacting Sara Ziegler at or 802-309-3472.

Additional Flood Resources

In July, Vermont was hit hard by flooding. Farm fields and crops throughout the state were flooded with their fate unclear. We have posted flood related resources on our Northwest Crops & Soils webpage and just added a few more timely resources there on managing flooded corn silage at harvest and mitigating silt and microbe risks. Please visit the webpage at to view the resources or see below.

Managing Damaged Crops and Forage (PDF)
Managing Damaged Corn (PDF)
Flood Damaged Forage Considerations: Documenting Damage, Cutting Losses, Avoid Compounding the Damage (PDF)
Mitigating Silt and Microbe Risks in Flooded Forages (PDF)
Managing Flooded Corn Silage at Harvest (PDF)

Additional flood related sites and resources can be found at:

Free Soil Testing, Heavy Metal Screening, and Soil Nitrate Analysis for Flood-impacted Farms

Now through August 15th, routine soil testing, heavy metal screening, and soil nitrate analysis will be free of charge for flood-impacted farms. Please write ‘FLOODED‘ on sample submission forms accompanying any soil samples.

More information can be found on the UVM Extension Agricultural and Environmental Testing webpage:

Flood Resources and Help for the Farming Community

Vermont has been hit hard by this recent round of storms, as some know and have experience more closely than others. It has left a devastating mark on the agricultural landscape of our small state. As a Team, we have always helped our community through difficult times and this will be no different! If you or a farmer in your community is in need, please contact Heather Darby at 802-782-6054 or 802-656-7610 or so that we can find ways to provide assistance.


Managing Flood Damaged Crops and Forage (PDF):

Managing Flood Damaged Corn (PDF):

Additional flood related sites and resources can be found at:

July On-farm Field Day Opportunities

It’s July already, and we wanted to share a few on-farm workshops coming up this month that UVM Extension Northwest Crops & Soils Program is organizing or collaborating on…

Friday, July 14, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Ken Leach and Joanne Chickering, Pawlet, VT. Discussion of drought stress and management considerations for following year as well as strategies to improve drought resiliency. 2 VAAFM WQ credits and 2 CCA CEUs available. Register at Choose Select A Date link to sign up. Contact is or 802-524-6501.

Thursday, July 13, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Cedar Mountain Farm, Hartland, VT. Dairy herd health workshop with Dr. Dayna Locitzer who will lead a day-long dairy herd health workshop with a mix of classroom time and pasture walk/herd observation. Topics to include physical exam of the cow, time budget, and veterinary skills. Register at Contact is or 802-656-4829.

Wednesday, July 19, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Rebop Farm, 1320 Sunset Lake Road, Brattleboro, VT. Birds, Bees, and Beneficial Bugs in Our Livestock Systems to include a pasture walk with discussion of how to enhance bird, bee, and beneficial insect habitats in rotational grazing systems. Free event. To register or for questions, contact or 802-656-4829.

Saturday, July 22, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pasture walk at the Larson Farm, 661 South Street, Wells, VT. Learn how Larson Farm is using automatic gate openers and innovative seed varieties to enhance dry matter intake, soil fertility, and milk production. Includes pasture walk as part of a DBIC Dairy Farm Innovation Grant and pot luck to follow. Register at Contact:

Thursday, July 27, 10am to 3:30pm, Borderview Research Farm, Alburgh, VT. Annual Field Day that will start with a tour of the farm and many of its research plots. Growers will get an update on ongoing and innovative crop and soil research trials, and UVM researches will share highlights from their research at the farm. After a BBQ lunch catered by Phoenix House and some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, we will have several afternoon session options including soil Health (including greenhouse gases and biochar), IPM, malt barley (with different ways to taste malt), forages (energy content, heights at mowing, etc.), and a hemp processing demo. Cost is $25 per person and free for farmers. Register today at

View our Conferences web page to view all upcoming workshops – We do request pre-registration for all events.

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