Northwest Crops and Soils Program : University of Vermont

University of Vermont

UVM Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Team


Dr. Heather Darby:

heather3Heather Darby is an Agronomist for UVM Extension.  Heather has been developing the Northwest Crops and Soils Program since she came to UVM in 2003 and provides leadership to the team.  Heather’s passion for sustainable agriculture and the enthusiasm she receives from Vermont’s farmers and professionals have fueled the expansion of her program, which covers the state of Vermont, and brings her around New England, across the country, and beyond to places like the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, Brazil and Washington DC.  Her goal is to provide sound research based agronomic information for the farmers of Vermont. Her varied interests and the enthusiasm lead her to work with a variety of agronomic crops including forages and specialty crops.


Susan Brouillette:

Susan Brouillette is program manager of the Northwest Crops and Soils Program. Susan is in her 30th year of employment at the University with 22 of them being with the St. Albans UVM Extension Office. Susan is also very familiar with agriculture, having grown up on a dairy farm and currently co-owning her husband’s family dairy farm in Franklin County. Susan works closely with Northwest Crops and Soils team members in their many activities including field days, workshop events and grants.



Erica Cummings:

Erica Cummings is a small grains enthusiast whose work at Extension is focused on weed management in small grains through integrated pest management and enhancing the capacity of regional farmers to produce high quality organic bread wheat. She has helped develop and lead the UVM Cereal and Hops Quality Testing Lab. The research she is involved in looks at grain quality, cultivar resources, weed management in organic cereals, disease management and fertility of organic bread wheat and harvest management for quality wheat.



Amanda Gervais:

amanda2Amanda Gervais is a player on the UVM Extension’s NW Crops and Soils Team, focusing on water quality and nutrient management. Projects she’s worked on include Designing a Sustainable Corn Silage Cropping System for Vermont, a USDA-CIG project (US Dept of Agriculture Conservation Innovation Grant), and Reducing Fuel and Fertilizer Costs for Corn Silage in the Northeast with Cover Crops, a SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) project. Amanda is also our resident expert videographer and photographer!


Abha Gupta:

Abha Gupta joined the NWCS team in January 2015 and has a passion for sustainable agriculture. She has been involved in farming in the northeast and northwest since 2007. Abha brings her diverse experience in farm management, agricultural research, outreach education, local agriculture marketing, and background in food system studies to the Northwest Crops and Soils Program. Abha works to develop research, create educational opportunities and materials, and help with lab procedures.



Scott Lewins:

Scott Lewins, an entomologist teaching at Saint Michael’s College and UVM, has brought his knowledge of insects to the NW Crops and Soils Program. He has been conducting applied agricultural research on farms throughout Vermont since he moved here in 2006. In the past, his research has focused on biological control of agricultural pests through enhancing native natural enemy communities, and his areas of expertise include entomology, biological control, insect agroecology, and sustainable agriculture.



Lindsey Ruhl:

Lindsey Ruhl joined the NWCS team in 2014 after earning a Master’s in Plant and Soil Science from UVM.  In 2015, Lindsey took a 9-month hiatus as a visiting researcher to study cover crops in the vineyards of Turkey with a Fulbright Grant.  Fortunately, NWCS welcomed her back to continue work on Nutrient Management Plans, goCrop, field research, and to help share what we learn with you.



Jeff Sanders:

Jeff Sanders works for the University of Vermont’s Agronomy and Conservation Assistance Program, helping to foster best management practices on dairy farms and improve water quality. Jeff brings to the Crops & Soils program years of experience as an agricultural service provider and dairy farm manager. His expertise is in reduced tillage systems, cover cropping practices, soil health, and interseeding, and he provides on-farm technical assistance to farmers statewide.



Sara Ziegler:

Sara Ziegler joined our team in 2013. She is a graduate of the University of Vermont Department of Plant and Soil Science, where she earned the Agronomy, Soils And Sustainable Agriculture Senior Recognition Award, the Lewis Ralph Jones Award, and the Seymour Horticultural Prize during her senior year in 2012. Sara has been assisting in all testing lab activities as well as contributing her agronomy knowledge through field research data collection.



Borderview Research Farm:

Borderview Research Farm is a private facility located on the Canadian border in Alburgh, VT.  Roger and Claire Rainville own and operate the 235-acre farm which, aside from over 3,000 research plots, is also a dairy replacement operation and biofuel facility.  The Rainvilles milked cows here for 26 years before they diversified into these current ventures.




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