Cows have grazed the pastures of the Clifford Farm in Starksboro since 1793. Today, under the management of Eric and Jane Clifford, the farm contributes five and a half million pounds of milk to Vermont's dairy industry every year.
The Clifford farm has also become a magnet for University of Vermont College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) students and researchers, and in doing so, is practically a UVM outpost - a learning tool for animal science students.
"The Cliffords have achieved excellence in their business, recognition as leaders in the dairy industry and commitment and service to the University of Vermont and Extension," said Leon Berthiaume, chief executive officer of St. Albans Cooperative Creamery.
If it weren't enough to run a farm of 370 cattle on 500 acres, Eric Clifford founded the Champlain Valley Crop Association and the Concrete Grazer's Discussion Group, he was an organizer of the Vermont Large Farms Conference, and is an advisor to several organizations including: the Lake Champlain Citizen Advisory Committee, Large Farm Operations Group, UVM CREAM Program and the UVM/VTC 2+2 Program. Eric, a 1972 graduate of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, received the College's 2009 Outstanding Alumni Award during festivities at the campus Davis Center on May 9.
"Both Eric and Jane are respected members of the Vermont community, with a great passion for the dairy industry, UVM and the state. Each has achieved excellence," said animal science Assistant Professor Adam Lock, in his nomination letter.
Roger Allbee, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, points out: "Eric supported UVM's land-grant mission throughout the years by his willingness to provide access to the farm for countless students, to allow research to be conducted by UVM faculty, to be involved with UVM Extension as an advisor and to serve on numerous UVM committees."