2018 DAPNet Board of Directors
Brad Johnson, email@example.com Northfield, VT
I first came into contact with horsepower on the Salt Marsh Farm in Wiscasset, Maine. At the time, I was a recovering high school teacher looking for something a little more hands on, and in the nearly twenty years since then I have certainly found it. After farming and logging with horses in Maine for ten years, my family and I moved to central Vermont, where we owned and operated a small, diversified farm in Randolph Center. During those years I began shifting away from farming with horses and into logging with horses and small machinery. For the past nine years, I have been working full time in the woods with my horses. In December of 2106, my wife, daughter, and I bought a woodlot in Northfield, VT and began building a house, utilizing wood pulled from our land. All the other livestock and cropland were left behind, but my horses remain at the heart of what I do for work as well as for fun.
I discovered DAPNet early on through Carl Russell, and I served on the first DAPNet Board of Directors. Much has changed and since we first tackled the challenges of forming a non-profit organization focused on promoting the use of animal power, but I remain as committed as ever to the DAPNet mission. Much of my early success with working animals resulted from relationships with wonderful mentors, and DAPNet played a significant role in connecting me with those fine folks. Today I continue to treasure the people I am interact with though the DAPNet community.
When I am not at work, I spend my free time outside mountain biking, hiking, skiing, or doing anything else that might involve a day in the sun, water, snow (or dirt). And our family always tries to finish a good day with a Vermont maple creamee!
Meryl Friets, firstname.lastname@example.org, Craftsbury, VT
Meryl is a current senior at Sterling College in Vermont studying Sustainable Agriculture Education with a minor in Draft Horse Management. She has been around horses since a young child and was introduced to draft power when she started at Sterling College. Meryl’s interest only spiked from there and she has spent the last two years in the program, both in learning and teaching positions. Meryl hopes to one day run her own draft powered educational farm. For now, she has a full time job with Ardelia Farm in Irasburg, VT starting in march where they hope to integrate a team of draft horses into the farm. Meryl plans on spending a few months WWOOFing in New Zealand after graduation learning about the farming culture and seeing what she can find for draft powered operations.
Isabel Ruffin, email@example.com, Dresden, ME
I was first introduced to draft horses my junior year of high school at Salt Marsh Farm, in Wiscasset, Maine. At the farm, Sal the Belgian would assist in field prep and upkeep (plowing, harrowing, discing, cultivating) during production season to help feed the campus, along with assisting in the management of Chewonki’s woodlot. When I was applying to colleges, I was specifically looking for a college with a working garden/farm/woodlot that used draft power.
From there, I found Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC. My second semester there, I was hired onto the Draft Horse Crew. The crew had 4 students on it, and was entirely student-run, assisting in the college’s garden prep, logging in the forest, haying in the summer, harvesting, etc. From 2 years, I worked 15 hours a week working two Belgians, Doc and Dan, alongside three other wonderful young teamsters. I helped in the planning and organizing of the college’s annual Plow Day event, that celebrated local agriculture, community, and tradition. The event showcased draft power, as teamsters from the surrounding areas joined the Warren Wilson College Horse Crew in plowing a farm field. The event was family friendly with craft vendors, cider pressing, cake walks, music, and a BBQ. *And if anyone is interested, the 19th Annual Plow Day is being held on September 9th from 9am-4pm at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC. Great event, $3 entry!*
From Warren Wilson, I found Sterling College. Mainly I was interested in Sterling’s Draft Horse Management Minor, and Draft Horse Crew. I was hired onto the crew, consisting of 4 students, and worked approximately 8-10 hours a week taking care of the college’s draft horses, using them in the woods, and in the gardens. I went through the college’s class’ in draft horse management – Working Horses & Working Landscapes, Draft Horse 1: Driving Principles, Draft Horse 2: Woodlot Principles and Draft Horse 3: Garden Principles. I also created independent studies in order to further my education on draft horses, including Regional Differences in Tack & Harness, Groundwork and Behavior, as well as helped to teach the Introduction to Teamster Skills class this summer 2017. Sterling College really helped to hone my skills as a teamster, and the knowledge and teamsters I met while in school, will help to guide me and support me for the rest of my time involved in agriculture.
I hope to someday have my own team to log and farm with. However, it’ll be a couple of years until I get there. Draft horses will always be a part of my life, and I currently am connected with an organic vegetable farm in Dresden, Maine that uses draft horse power to hay and cultivate.
President, Donn Hewes firstname.lastname@example.org, Northland Sheep Dairy, Marathon, NY
Donn Hewes traded his Fordson Super Major tractor for a team of mules in 1993 and has been farming and logging with horses and mules ever since. He and his wife Maryrose Livingston own and operate Northland Sheep Dairy in Marathon, New York. The Northland Sheep Dairy makes award winning cheeses from 100% grass fed sheep. They sell all their cheese, meat and wool products at the Ithaca Farmer’s Market. Donn uses horses and mules to do most of the farm work including haymaking, compost spreading, pasture clipping, Plowing and cultivating a couple acres of vegetables and small grains, as well as firewood hauling.. Last year we used a combine pulled by horses and mules for the first time. Recently Donn has purchased a Mammoth Jack Donkey that will help insure good working mules for years to come. In his spare time Donn sells parts and repairs horse drawn mowers.
Vice-President, Michael Glos, email@example.com, Berkshire, NY
I have farmed with my wife Karma and daughter Rosemary for the last 20 years at Kingbird Farm in Berkshire, NY. We operate a diverse certified organic farm producing vegetables, herbs, plants, pork, beef, duck, chicken, and eggs. We have done this from the beginning with the assistance of draft horses and ponies ranging from Percherons and Belgians to our current Fjords and Haflinger. They are active in the woods in the fields and woods as we all continue to learn and grow together.
Treasurer, Jay Fisher, firstname.lastname@example.org, Charlestown, NH
I’m a teacher of the life sciences to high school students in Langdon, NH. I work with horses when I’m not teaching, and sometimes when I am. My primary team is a pair of Percherons. We do a lot of carriage work, logging, mowing, and spreading manure. I hope to plow and cultivate my garden with horses eventually.
I have travelled a lot. Recent travels took me to Alaska for the Student Conservation Association, where I worked with students building trails in wilderness areas. Lately I have been remaining on the farm and spending more time on goals there and working with DAPNet. Hopefully we’ll create opportunities for folks like me to learn and practice needed skills.
Gillian Goldberg, email@example.com, Champion, PA
Gillian started drawing pictures of horses at age 8, but didn’t get around to working with them until 2012, when she left her native Pennsylvania for Greyrock Farm in Cazenovia, New York. Gillian grew vegetables at Greyrock for three seasons. She left in April of 2015, and began a farm tour that took her to six states and one Canadian province, over a dozen farms, and allowed her to drive about 25 different animals. She is currently in Marathon, NY, learning the subtle art of mule training.
Lizzie Koltai, firstname.lastname@example.org, Guilford, Maine
I started Helios Horsepower Farm with my team of Halflingers in spring 2014. I grow organic vegetables in Bowdoinham, Maine for The Good Shepard Food Bank as well as some smaller retailers and
processors. I found my team while working for another horse powered farm here in Maine, and a favorable lease situation soon followed. In the coming years I hope to expand my vegetable production, eventually find a piece of land of my own and broaden my horse powered operation
to include logging.
John Smolinsky, email@example.com, Greensboro Bend, VT
John Smolinsky was introduced to working animals in 2010 when he started at Sterling College in Craftsbury Common Vermont. He went on to Intern with Carl Russell, 30 year horse logger in Bethel Vermont. Following his internship he started his own small logging business using a Belgian draft horse. Earthbound Forestry Services focuses on low volume, high frequency harvest within the parameters of a silvicultural management plan. John focuses on putting the ecological integrity of the forest first by using horses special draft capability within a harvest. The goal is to work with landowners so that they can understand how harvests provide long-term health and strength to the forests economic engine within a healthy and strong ecosystem.
Will Stephens, firstname.lastname@example.org, Nantucket, MA
I am here to wave the flag of inexperience. I live on a small farm with my wife and small collection of animals… a dream come true. I am trying to transition to draft and driving horses from saddle horses and the one AMAZING mentor I had sold her farm to us and moved to France. Low & behold, I found DAPNet. An amazing collection of unselfish people dedicated to living a human scale, working animals as part of a sustainable lifestyle, with an unmatched energy for sharing and helping. I have chosen to join the Board of Directors to increase my level of involvement to do what I can to help other people find this group and to encourage more experienced people to get and stay involved. Living on Nantucket, I have limited farm work that I can do with my horses so I am working towards a commercial carriage business, retiring my tractor from the contract mowing I do and trying to pick up a little forestry management work. I’ve got a long way to go but it’s a lot of fun! As the owner & president of the residential building company Stephens & Company, Inc., I bring to the board a strong background in business management with a focus on customer service and hope to use these to further the mission of DAPNet.
Jared Woodcock, email@example.com, Cambridge, NY 2816
Jared Woodcock owns and operates Taproots Farm with his wife Shannon, and two kids, Calla, and Shiloh. He is the Agriculture Coordinator for SUNY Adirondack a small community college in the southern Adirondacks and is developing both credit and noncredit programs in sustainable agriculture. Jared has a broad range of interests but most importantly he just wants to have a good time!
Administrator, Reva Seybolt firstname.lastname@example.org East Woodstock. CT
Reva came to draft horses in her 50s after taking 30 years off from horses. She has done some haying (including mowing), logging, spreading manure, hauling stones and brush, Memorial Day Parades, and general chores with her farm team of Belgians on her hay farm in north eastern CT. She studied the soil with the VT Grass Farmers/NOFA and uses rotational grazing. She has assisted with the Low Impact Forestry weekends at MOFGA, has been a volunteer at the NEAPField Days and managed the Brooklyn CT Draft Horse Show. She has an MBA from Harvard Business School. She cares passionately about land and draft animals and hopes to continue to bring thoughtful energy to DAPNet.