Vermont Farm Show kicks off - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vermont Farm Show kicks off

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The 2013 Vermont Farm Show is in full swing.

"I really love the cows," said Laura Lambert of Randolph Center. "I really like working with them."

But the way the state's farmers are doing that is changing.

"Obviously here we are seeing things that have come through the pipeline and the latest technology," said Harvey McDonald of Derby Line.

This year all kinds of innovative tools are on display inside the Champlain Valley Expo, like an $1,800 brush that will comb your cattle for you.

"You can't get your foot up there, how else are you going to do it?!" said Lynne Gately of Randolph Center.

While the technology may put itches at ease, folks say there's room for improvement.

"Water, some squirting water and a little bit of lathering soap," Gately said.

"I think it is a great idea," Lambert said. "It's good for scratching, but I don't know if it actually gets a lot of poop off."

If you have $16,000 pony up, an automatic feeder could be yours.

"It basically travels around the dairy facility pushing up the feed, keeping fresh feed to the cows all the time," said Paul Godin, a Lely dealer.

The new tool is a far cry from the way dairy farmers like Harvey McDonald once did the job.

"I've used hand brooms and I know they use skid steers and other power equipment, but I have never seen a robotic unit do that," McDonald said.

Folks pitching the new products say they're helping to make farming more appealing to a younger crowd.

"This equipment allows them to have more of a social life, more scheduled time around dairy," Godin said.

Some of Vermont's next-generation farmers say a high-tech transition is key even if it takes some coaxing with the folks currently in charge.

"I think newer equipment is important," Lambert said. "I think some people can be adverse to that."

McDonald admits he's still on the fence about the changing technology, but says the farm show is the right place to figure out what works best.

"I think that's how innovations happen," McDonald said. "People have different experiences and everybody has an idea."

Click here for more information on the Vermont Farm Show.

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