Kayhart Brothers Dairy, LLC West Addison, VT
There’s no mistaking that Tim and Steve Kayhart are brothers with their similar builds, smiles and almost-matching beards. Like many siblings, the Kayharts admit they didn’t always get along when they were younger. But after returning as adults to the West Addison, Vermont farm on which they were raised, the brothers have developed a close and appreciative working relationship and officially took over full responsibility from their parents, Lee and Pat, in 2010. “Both of us feel extremely fortunate,” says Tim. “I know it makes us a better farm because we work together.”
Efficiency for All
The dairy’s new free-stall barn was designed both for ultimate cow comfort as well as energy efficiency. The brothers worked closely with Efficiency Vermont on the project. Fan sensors slow down the equipment when a natural breeze is detected and a sophisticated central system controls wall curtains and roof vents to maintain goal temperatures throughout the seasons with as little energy input as possible. Tim serves on the board of directors of the Champlain Valley Farmer Coalition, which strives to help farmers implement agricultural practices to improve economic resiliency and environmental stewardship with the goal of improving and maintaining the ecological integrity of Lake Champlain and its tributaries.
A Bright Future
Looking to the future, the Kayharts see a bright horizon. Three of their five children are pursuing careers in dairy including Steve’s son, Andy, who works with his dad and uncle on the family farm. “There’s a future for the dairy industry; we’re not all en route to going out of business,” Steve says. “Is it going to change? Yes, everything changes. But we believe that for our working life—and for our children’s, too—there is opportunity.”