Dr. Heather Darby:
Heather 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 is program manager of the Northwest Crops and Soils Program. Susan is in her 27th year of employment at the University with 18 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.
Lily Calderwood has recently earned her PhD from UVM Plant and Soil Sciences with a concentration in extension entomology. She comes to the team with an ecology background, a passion for sustainable agriculture and an interest in farmers’ needs. Lily assists on several of the team’s ongoing projects. Her research focuses on the hop intercropping study aimed at assessing insect diversity and abundance in hops. The goal of this project is to formulate integrated pest management (IPM) and conservation biological control protocol for Northeastern hop production.
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 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 is the newest member of our NWCS team 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.
Debra Heleba coordinates the organic dairy team for eOrganic, a national project that provides on-line education on certified organic agriculture. In addition, Deb is the Vermont state SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) coordinator where she provides sustainable agriculture professional development for agricultural service providers as well as helping Vermonters learn about NE-SARE, a USDA competitive grants program. Currently, she is working with a northern New England team to help Extension and other educators learn more about local grains production and farm energy alternatives. She has worked on a variety of Extension programs since 1990, including the Women’s Agricultural Network, Farm Transfer Network of New England, and the University of Vermont Center for Sustainable Agriculture.
Scott Lewins, an entomologist teaching at Saint Michael’s College and UVM, has recently 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.
Susan Monahan joined the Crops and Soils Team in 2010 after finishing her masters in Plant and Soil Science at UVM. Susan is passionate about sustainable agriculture and local food, fiber, and fuel production. She is excited to be a part of the NW Crops and Soils team and help out with the great projects providing information for Vermont farmers. Her focus is on heirloom grains, nutrient management, and forages, and she has been working on-farm and in the lab on milk and forage quality.
Julian Post joined our team in 2014, helping to conduct our field research on hops, grains, and oilseeds. He is a University of Vermont graduate where he earned a BS in agroecology and sustainable agriculture. He has spent time as an AmeriCorps worker at Highfields Center for Composting, and as a seasonal market garden staff at Shelburne Farms.
After earning her Master’s from UVM’s Plant and Soil Science Department researching the effects of flooding on soil fertility, Lindsey Ruhl became a part of the NWCS team in 2014. Her work with the NWCS team focuses on water quality issues including keeping current on agricultural regulations, helping develop nutrient management plans, and researching effectiveness of cover crops and tillage techniques.
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 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 2,000 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.