WEYBRIDGE-Millie Rooney of Monument Farms Dairy in Weybridge, was recently honored by being inducted in the Vermont Agriculture Hall of Fame at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction. She was nominated by the Addison County Farm Bureau.
Rooney was being presented the special award, by Gov. Jim Douglas at the fair. Millicent Rooney's son, Jon, now milk plant manager of Monument Farms Dairy. The Vermont Agricultural Hall of Fame was founded seven years ago by the Vermont Farm Bureau in cooperation with the Champlain Valley Exposition. Each year a special award painting is created for the recipients,
Mrs. Rooney was honored for her exceptionally long productive career serving Vermont agriculture and Addison County farmers. She began here career with Monument Farms in 1929 when her parents, Richard and Marjory James, and their children traveled from New York to their newly purchased farm in Weybridge. They began bottling milk in their basement, Millie and her brother, Steve, helped with the home delivery system, bottle washing and anything else that needed doing. In 1938 they were pasteurizing the milk. They were soon buying more farms to provide the supplies needed for their routes.
After graduating from UVM in 1949, Mrs. Rooney worked for the Vermont Department of Health for two years before her marriage to James Rooney. They traveled the world together with his military assignments. In the early 1960's her father, "let us know that he needed more help." With one year old son, Jon, they returned to Vermont. Jim Rooney handled the machinery and equipment as plant manager, Millie took over the accounting and payroll for the successful farm business.
Monument Farms currently milks 450 cows, their largest customer is Middlebury College, they distribute milk and dairy products over a wide area of northern Vermont, all the way to the Canadian border. Her brother Steve James' sons Peter and Robert, manage the farms, as well as handling the retail sales and deliveries. Millicent is still in the office and keeps a watchful eye on the business. The family business has been a part of the Addison County Farm Bureau since 1930, Millie say, "We have a heritage and it's up to us to keep it and make it better for the next generation."
Another leader of Vermont agriculture was inducted posthumously. Dr. Everett Harris of Charlotte, who passed away recently, was a leader in vocational-technical education working extensively with FFA and being responsible for the success of several such programs in Vermont. He was a UVM professor for 22 years.
The award print was by artist Deborah Holmes of Weybridge.