One of Ben & Jerry’s largest “Caring Dairy” farms was recently caught fudging its cow numbers to avoid state regulations, according to records obtained by Regeneration Vermont.
For more than 18 months, the Gosliga Farm in Addison misled state officials about its cow numbers, which kept them from being classified as a “large farm operation (LFO)” by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, a classification that triggers significantly more regulation and oversight.
The revelation of this violation is irking residents of Addison County, where the farm is located, who for years have been plagued by a water quality crisis, largely the result of the expanding dairy operations.
The records obtained by Regeneration Vermont showed that for more than a year-and-a-half the Gosliga Farm reported fewer than 700 mature cows to remain classified as a “medium farm operation (MFO).”
This glaring omission allowed the farm to avoid, among other things, an annual state inspection, as required for LFOs. Additionally, according to the VT Nonpoint Source Enhancement Plan, “Unlike the MFO Program, LFO permits are individual to each farm and also regulate odor, noise, traffic, insects, flies, and other pests.”