Barton’s Hall of Fame farmers

copyright the Chronicle August 16, 2017

 

by Paul Lefebvre

 

BARTON — Rupert Chamberlin stands next to the railing on his deck, which affords a magnificent view of the countryside and the Jay mountain range in the distance. It’s not the view, though, that holds his interest. Although retired, he’s a farmer first and always. And today he’s got his eye on a piece of land just below the house that needs to brush hogged.

As someone who has farmed for most of his 83 years, he says there is a technique to brush hogging. His approach is to first brush hog the land counter-clockwise, and then to do it again clockwise. That way, he says, you get the grass that was only bent over on the first pass. As a finishing touch, he brush hogs the land once more, going back and forth, as if he were mowing his lawn.

His observations about brush, or bush, hogging are likely characteristic of someone who has been working the land as a dairy farmer since graduating from the Vermont Agricultural and Technical Institute in Randolph in 1953. Or someone who has stuck it out through thick and thin.

“I’ve moved five times and haven’t gone a mile,” he says, speaking about a farming life that began when he became a partner on his father’s farm out of college, and eventually took it over in 1958, the same year he started breeding registered Jerseys.

A few years later, in 1960, he took on a life partner when he married Muriel Rochelu, who has been with him through the lean years as well as the ones more robust.

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