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Prizewinning Vt. cows on the auction block - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Prizewinning Vt. cows on the auction block

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EAST MONTPELIER, Vt. - A Vermont farm auction is attracting worldwide attention. Lylehaven Farm in East Montpelier is known for its Holstein breeding. In fact, many call their cows some of the best in the world.

The farm is closing and selling off the cows not because of financial problems, but because the owner says it's time.

The tent going up is for a celebration described as somewhere between a wedding and a funeral.

"To some extent we're both celebrating and sad that they're ending," said Jerry Rappaport, owner of Lylehaven Farm.

No grooms among the guests of honor, but they are all getting groomed.

The cows were clipped head to tail in anticipation of a farewell. The farm is closing for good and with it goes 150 Holsteins. They are award-winning animals revered in the dairy world.

For Rappaport the goal was to breed the perfect cow.

"I wanted to have a cow that could pass like Tom Brady, who would look like Marilyn Monroe and who would think like Einstein," said Rappaport.

If money's how you measure success, he did it. Some of the cows raised on Rappaport's East Montpelier farm sold for more than $1 million. One of the animals even landed in the pages of People magazine.

"I'm going to miss it a lot... a lot," said Rappaport.

It's a long way from home for a self-professed urbanite. Rappaport is perhaps better known for his career as a Boston real-estate developer.

"It's beautiful land and I can tell you parting with it is difficult," said Rappaport.

In fact at first many feared what he wanted to do with the land, but for 40 years it's stayed a farm and he's working to make sure whoever buys it keeps it that way.

And so on auction day people are coming from all across the world.

Reporter Steve Bottari: How many people?

Sue Brown, farm manager: A thousand.

Bottari: A thousand?

Brown: I think there could be a thousand people. I feel bad for the poor sheriff at the end of the road.

For some it’s their chance to buy some of world's best cows.

"This is an amazing herd... kind of the last of an era in our industry," said Dave Rama, auction manager.

The 87-year-old Rappaport says it's time.

"This is a closing, but one of the most wonderful things about life is to enjoy the closings because it means you've had a good run," said Rappaport.

It doesn't make saying goodbye to a dream any easier.

The auction for the cows starts Friday morning. Area hotels are already booked up for it and the farm tells us in the coming weeks, they should be able to say more about who may be buying the land itself.
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