It has been almost three months since Guy Palardy’s sudden departure. He is remembered as a thoughtful community member and strategic agriculturalist that used cutting edge techniques. In short, he was a leader on and off his farm fields. The following words are reflections from the Farmer’s Watershed Alliance about Guy.
“Our friend Guy Palardy’s interest was agriculture, a highly diversified topic, but something which piqued his interests and commanded his attention. Guy was a deep thinker, a highly spirited farmer, and always a gentleman. Several years ago he had traveled to Washington DC early in the morning and returned later in the day to Montpelier. I recall being present when he arrived at the end of the day to offer testimony before a field hearing of The US Senate Committee on Agriculture, it had been convened by Sen. Patrick Leahy at the Statehouse in Montpelier, a fact finding mission which pertained to anaerobic digesters and green energy, and something for which Guy offered his insight and enthusiasm to the committee.”
“The first time I met Guy was at a farm meeting here on our farm. We started to talk about farming and the subject of tiling came up. We both had had a lot of the same ideas about how the tile should be put in the ground.
“There was a time that I saw Guy at a local welding (fabrication) shop. He explained how he wanted a part made that would go onto his equipment. He impressed me with his ideas on how to make something work.
“Just recently, he spoke in groups about tiling and GPS and how he set it up on his tractor. Farmers and other Agriculture agency folks listened attentively to Guy as he shared his knowledge and experience on this subject. Guy was a man who demonstrated his passion for farming and he surely will be missed. His untimely passing is a big loss for the whole farming community.”
“I knew Guy as a proactive farmer, always willing to try different methods of farming with his land that were both profitable and good environmental practices.
He had a tiling operation which he used on his farm and also did work on fields of many other farmers. He became very well educated in the GPS technology which he used for tiling.
“I believe he had been using GPS to pre-apply fertilizer and plant his crops the next spring near the fertilizer, trusting the GPS guidance. I am not sure if he was using zone till or no till.
“I knew Guy mainly from winter conference meetings where sometimes he was a featured speaker and would share his knowledge to many farmers.
“Also, he was very involved with his community as he was a selectman. Being a selectman myself, I know firsthand the commitment involved and responsibility to govern your town can be tedious, time consuming but very rewarding to give back to the community.”
“Guy was a great asset to the farm community and the community as a whole. I knew him mostly through seeing and talking to him at UVM extension field days, where he was always enthusiastic to share ideas. He seemed to view life as an experience to
learn and share. The interaction I had with Guy was always comforting as his approach to sharing ideas was unbiased in his ability to share, so both parties could learn from the conversation at hand. These interactions helped Guy become a leader in his field, using the most advanced precision Ag systems in the state, and implementing that technology in his strip till operation. He was and is a role model for farmers who wish to be innovative and strive to think outside the box.”
“Guy was a leader and we followed as fast as we could to catch up! If every person and every farmer cared for the land and soil like Guy did our world would be a much different place. The bottom line was important, but Guy understood that improving the bottom line could be obtained by investing in the health of the land not by degrading it.
“Guy cared about the environment. He was worried about the impact that his farm might have on the surrounding water. He was conscious of his management and indeed implemented practices to reduce his impact. Guy recently attended my tile drainage meeting and commented at the end that if tile drainage is impacted the water we can’t ignore it we must figure out how to minimize the impact…this coming from a man that installed tile!
“He respected the soil beneath his feet and knew if he took care of it in turn the soil would take care of him and his family. He was concerned about the health of the soil and wanted to take all measures to protect it from degradation. Farmers have watched Guy’s practice of being patient with the land. I have heard them comment more than once that “there is something to it…He waits to plant, not rushing, and his crops are always good…” He set the example of what many hoped to do.
“In 2010 he attended my first reduced tillage conference and there was a farmer talking about strip tillage from New York. After the meeting many of us decided that we needed to try this practice. He became interested in reducing tillage as a means to protect the soil and of course reduce the costs of growing crops.
“I wrote a grant to purchase a Blue Jet Strip Tillage Implement and had it for farmers to use. Honestly no one could figure it out! I talked to Guy and asked, “Can you take it and make it work?” Well, he did and he did more than that…He revolutionized the system, adapted it for our region, and of course worked and worked to perfect this practice for the region. As he did with most things he studied, learned, sought knowledge, and critically synthesized every bit of information he could to continue to improve the practice.
“He is the only farmer that I know in VT that implements this innovative practice. I am sure he would disagree that he perfected the practice because that was the way Guy was …nothing was ever just right and there were always improvements to be made…sure enough he developed an entire fertilizer system to compliment the strip tillage practice. Once again I was amazed with his commitment and innovation.
“I also credit Guy with bringing precision agriculture to VT farms. He certainly was the authority on this technology and even the equipment dealers sought his opinions and expertise on the topic. He was invited by myself and others to conferences and workshops to share his expertise on this topic. Now precision agriculture is used quite widely in VT, but Guy was one of the first.
“Guy made us all work hard just to keep up with his thoughts and questions. It was humbling at times as he truly was just light years ahead of the rest of us. He was curious and innovative, yet humble and patient…a winning combination.”