The Miller family’s dairy farming tradition began in southern Vermont in the 1800s. Then in 1916, Arthur Lyman Miller was seeking a larger plot of land and purchased 300 acres in Vernon. The family and their herd of Holstein cows migrated to Vernon and began to ramp up their farming capabilities. Since the farm’s inception in 1887, they have always raised Holstein cows, making them one of the country’s oldest registered herds. Now, in 2021, they raise over 300 total cows, including young ones and a bull, and they milk close to 190 on a daily basis.
Approximately 80% of open land in Vermont is managed by dairy farmers which are predominantly small family owned farms. Leon, Linda and Abbie Corse manage 375 acres in Whitingham and Wilmington, VT with many of those acres being open pasture for their cows. They are the 5th and 6th generation in their family to operate this dairy farm. This family is tremendously important to our region as dairy farming in Vermont protects and maintains our precious open land that otherwise would grow to forest or be turned into real estate. Additionally, it is a robust economic driver largely due to their large scale purchasing of farm supplies from machinery to building materials to grain. The Corse Farm Dairy became certified organic through Vermont Organic Farmers in 2008 and began shipping milk to CROPP cooperative/Organic Valley since then; they are among the 2,000 or so farmers nationally that own the cooperative. A purchase of an Organic Valley product is a purchase for the Corse family. Organic Valley functions within a deeply regionalized product system; when you purchase Organic Valley fluid milk you are buying their product. Without their transition to organic and to farmer-owners of Organic Valley, the Corses have no doubt their farm would have gone out of business. October is National Co-op Month and we are proud as a food co-op to share one family story of dairy farming and how the cooperative model has supported their continued success.