Brookfield Farm was recently named one of 12 grant recipients of the 2022 New Hampshire Conservation Districts Climate Resilience Grant.

The grants are awarded to support and empower local farmers to build climate resilience. Particular focus is on reducing the impact of agriculture on climate change through greenhouse gas emissions reduction and carbon sequestration and increasing the resiliency of New Hampshire farms in a changing climate.

Founded in 1995 and situated on 300 acres in Walpole, Brookfield Farm is co-owned and operated by Holly and Christian Gowdy. While the husband and wife each grew up in non-farming families, they were drawn to it and both attended ag programs in college. They purchased their very first cows on their honeymoon.

Brookfield Farm has no outside staff and is entirely run by the Gowdy family of four. The farm operates within a very locally based business radius. According to Holly, beef sales are usually made within 20 miles of the farm, while their milk is sold to Stonyfield Yogurt, located about 80 miles away in Londonderry.

“We’re a small family farm,” Holly explained. “We’ve been certified organic since 2003. Our grass-based production has been shipping milk to the Organic Valley Cooperative for the past 14 years.”

Using a grant to put potassium into the soil

George, Holly, Edward and Christian Gowdy of Brookfield Farm recently earned a New Hampshire Conservation Districts Climate Resilience Grant. Photo courtesy of Holly Gowdy

The farm sells certified organic ground beef, steaks, roasts and bones. The farm also has seasonal offerings of ground lamb, lamb chops, roasts and ground lamb sausage. The animals at the farm are fed from certified organic hay and forage grown on site. The surplus hay and forage are available for purchase from the Gowdys.

Likewise, any compost unused by the farm can be purchased.

Customers can order the farm’s produce online before making an on-site pickup. Their beef products are also available at the Farmers Market of Keene.

“We were awarded [this] grant to see how the utilization of potassium will improve soil health,” Holly explained. Brookfield Farm will apply potassium to select fields with the goal of increasing the quality and quantity of forage, improving soil health and improving plant resilience during extreme weather conditions and drought.

“These days when the price of our inputs has skyrocketed beyond the pay price we receive for our milk, we began looking at ways to trim our inputs. We are grateful to the Cheshire County Conservation District for offering this sort of a funding opportunity,” Holly said. “It would be good for folks to understand the financial stress that dairies in the Northeast are under, organic or otherwise.”

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by Enrico Villamaino