University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities

Oral History

Right from the start, Extension's strength has been its people and the relationship they have with Vermonters. No history of UVM Extension would be complete without the stories of those men and women who devoted their lives to advancing the mission of the land-grant university. See the Full List of Recordings »

John Page

Bennington County Agricultural Agent, 1952 - 1986

From 1952 to 1986, John Page was known as "Mr. Agriculture" in southern Vermont, and Bennington County in particular. His 34 years as a county agricultural agent was unrivaled in its scope and depth. His area of expertise was agronomy, but he knew as much about human behavior as he did about birdsfoot trefoil. More...

When John took over as county agricultural agent in Bennington, his predecessor, Harry Mitiguy, sat him down and gave him some advice. He said that teaching farmers new things wouldn't be a problem. "Your problem," he said, is going to be to get farmers to change habits that are wrong and that are hurting them." John took this advice to heart, and became famous for his unorthodox methods, like the time he confiscated a farmer's milking machine after telling the farmer repeatedly that too much milking was giving his cows mastitis. John could get away with things like that because the farmer knew him, and he knew that John was doing it for his own good. The farmer may not have liked it, but as one colleague pointed out "there are many farmers today that attribute their good fortune and good business sense to John's fiery temper and persistence." ...Less