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South Woodstock Vermont

Kedron Valley Dairy

Kedron Valley Dairy became a reality when a group of South Woodstock community members took ownership of the former water buffalo farm property on April 1, 2010. The Kedron Valley Dairy was conceived and founded as a community-based effort to preserve the rural way of life in South Woodstock. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first community-owned dairy farm in Vermont.

The property consists of barns and milking parlor facilities and an integrated creamery with refrigerated storage and cheese-aging capabilities. There is also a built-out space above the creamery suitable for a dedicated classroom.

Between 1996 and today, Vermont has lost 25% of its dairy farms. The current number of farms is approximately 1200 down from 11,000 in 1946. Preserving a piece of Vermont’s history and heritage was something the South Woodstock community felt was worth doing. The model provides a vehicle for new and existing Vermont dairy producers and artisan cheese makers to come together to with their community to revitalize the Vermont dairy industry.

Kedron Valley Dairy has a strategic advantage in the currently stressed dairy economy.  The farm’s ability to produce farmstead dairy products for the marketplace will create a value added business model. In order for a cheese to be classified as “farmstead,” as defined by the American Cheese Society, the cheese must be made with milk from the farmer’s own herd on the farm where the animals are raised.  Farmstead cheese production is vital for the long term sustainability of the farm.  Cheese production plans are currently in the developmental stage.

The Kedron Valley Dairy wishes to preserve, educate, nurture and encourage people to immerse themselves in the self-sustaining rural way of life in Vermont. The project itself will be self-sustaining through various means and will contribute to the economic stability of the community.  Jobs will be created directly with the farm and cheese making, as well as through the educational courses offered at the farm.

“I am excited to be part of Kedron Valley Dairy and look forward to developing a sustainable agricultural business in South Woodstock that allows community members the opportunity to connect with their food supply ,” says Kent Underwood,  operating manager.

A separate not-for-profit corporation will be formed with a mission of providing education around the topics of agriculture, dairy, cheese making, and sustainable food systems. In addition, various hands-on cheese making classes will be sponsored on-site utilizing the facilities of the dairy and creamery. The non-profit will raise money to sponsor scholarships and internships for people wishing to pursue a career in agriculture and value-added products. Cooperative efforts are being formed between Vermont Technical College and Kedron Valley Dairy to offer hands-on cheese making courses in conjunction with dairy business courses.

Future projects for the dairy include the implementation of green technologies.  A methane digester is in the planning stages as well as exploration into geothermal, wind, algae and solar technologies to drastically reduce conventional energy use work toward carbon neutral production.

“We’re really psyched about the prospects for the dairy, the opportunity to create a farmstead cheese for a national market combined with exploring green technologies on the farm is extremely exciting. I really like the idea of a private enterprise using sustainable technologies to make a profit and preserve the land. Through geothermal, wind, solar and methane production, we can greatly reduce the farms energy dependence and with the hope to someday be completely off the grid,” says Hunter Melville, investor and neighbor.

Kedron Valley Dairy is currently seeking funding through additional investors for cattle, farm equipment and cheese making equipment.

The former owner of the property is currently proceeding with slaughter house plans in West Central, VT.

For more information please contact Kent Underwood at or 802-457-9992

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