Name: Steve Judge
Occupation: Microdairy expert at Bob-White Systems
Place of Residence: Vermont
Background and Personal History: In 1991, Judge created the Vermont Family Farms brand of fluid milk in partnership with Vermont Milk Producers, Inc. This co-operative aimed to develop a new and innovative way to bring farm-fresh milk to the market.
Vermont Family Farms milk was produced by a small, select group of Vermont family farms, making it the first “super-premium” milk marketed in the northeastern United States. One of the legacies of Vermont Family Farms was that participating farmers owned the brand equally and were paid significantly more for their milk than standard co-ops. Vermont Milk Producers sold the Vermont Family Farms brand to a major Vermont dairy co-op and disbanded in 2000.
In 2006, Judge and his wife Wendy purchased and brought back to life an abandoned 40-acre farm in Vermont where they started a micro dairy and now keep and milk four Jersey cows. Driven by a passion for the Slow Food movement and a desire for communities to enjoy locally produced, farm-fresh milk, Judge looked to technology for ways to make microdairy farming more profitable and accessible. His goal was to create appropriately scaled dairy technology and equipment that would give microdairy farmers the opportunity to sell safe, farm fresh milk and dairy products directly from their farms to friends and neighbors. In 2013, Judge introduced the LiLi pasteurizer, the first low input-low impact HTST milk pasteurizer approved for use in all 50 states.
Over the course of his career, Judge has also:
• Served as the Franklin County (Mass.) Regional Planning Agency’s Farm and Forest Land Use Planner
• Co-founded the Franklin Land Trust, headquartered in Shelburne Falls, Mass.
• Worked with a group of western Massachusetts dairy farmers to spearhead the formation of the Massachusetts Association of Dairy Farmers
• Managed the Shoreham Co-operative Apples Producers Association located in Shoreham, Vt.
• Owned, operated and/or managed five dairy farms
• Sat on the board of a Vermont Dairy Co-op for several years and managed a 300-member organic and natural foods co-op in Randolph, Vt., for two years
• Managed Woodstock Water Buffalo Farm, New England’s only buffalo operation
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