Keeping nutrients on the farm and out of the river was also aided when Guy switched from conventional liquid manure storage to an innovative compost bedded pack system. During the winter the cows are fed hay in large hoop barns designed to mimic the comfort and atmosphere of being on pasture. Excess hay provides bedding and catches manure before being trod down into compost. When the cows resume rotational grazing in May, pigs are let into the barns to root around and expedite the composting process before it is spread on fields as nutrient-rich fertilizer. Guy is an ambassador to help other dairies manage bedded pack systems.
Guy is also an instructor for the Champlain Basin Watershed Initiative. This partnership between Vermont, New York and Quebec educates elementary school teachers participating in a course called A Watershed for Every Classroom. The teachers are then equipped to teach their students – future stewards of Lake Champlain -- how agricultural conservation practices address water quality issues.
Choiniere Family Farm participates in Vermont’s roadside sign program that identify conservation practices like rotational grazing, cover crops, no-till and streamside plantings. The Choinieres, who were Vermont’s Conservation Farmers of the Year in 2009, are now the first New England Leopold Conservation Award recipients from the Green Mountain State.