Norman and Mary-Rose Audet purchased the Blue Spruce Farm when they married in 1958. Previously, Norman had worked on his family farm in Orwell, Vermont.Over the next seven years, the Audets produced five children. Together with this energetic, built-in workforce, Norman and Mary-Rose fearlessly set off to update and grow the farm. In 1970, they experienced a devastating barn fire. While grateful that the herd of 80 cows was saved, they lost the entire barn and brand new pipe line milking system.But this setback didn’t keep “Stormy Normy” (as he was affectionately called in his younger years) from investing in a state-of-the-art free stall barn and milking parlor— which was built to accommodate the short stature of his workers, as the kids were not yet teenagers!
The Next Generation
As we, the second generation, grew older, we had dreams of building a barn focused on the cows’ comfort. Tapping into modern dairy information and technology that we’d gained over the years, the first of three new barns was constructed in 1996, with a milking parlor that can handle 48 cows at a time.
Gradually, we increased the herd to 500 milking cows. In 2001, the second barn was completed, providing us with room to take care of our dry cows and heifers due to have a calf. Currently, we are milking 1,300 cows.
In 2009, our third barn was built, providing our youngstock with the same modern, comfortable barns as the milking cows!
Our milking barns have fans on thermostats. The barn walls work like curtains, and are also on thermostat. Since the weather can change 30 degrees from one day to the next, and cows can’t take off their coats if they are hot or quickly thicken their coats if they are cold, emphasis was put on keeping the barn comfortable despite what Mother Nature throws at us!
In November 2011, we doubled the size of our digester and replaced our generator with a more efficient Guascor Genset. Seems like we are never done, always something better and more efficient out there!
In May, 2013 we commissioned a Northern Power community sized Wind Turbine adding to our renewable portfolio. As far as we know, we are the only farm in the U.S that’s producing renewable electricity from cow power and from wind power. We don’t expect that will last for long, as dairy farms across the country are actively implementing new technology and adopting practices that reduce their carbon footprint and ensure their Sustainability for today and beyond!
With the unstable prices dairy farmers are forced to take for their milk, people often ask us how we can sleep at night. It is simple— we are TIRED at the end of the day!