Let me introduce……….myself!
Hi all; as you know, Alex is leaving VT AgrAbility Project and starting a new job soon. I have the honor of taking over the blog that Alex initiated and worked the kinks out of before handing it on. Can’t promise there won’t be any bumps in the road while I learn this, but here we go………..this one’s all about me!
I am a native Vermonter, grew up in Weybridge and married a dairy farmer from Shelburne. We took over the family farm and kept it as a dairy until late 2001, when we had a devastating fire. We had every intention to rebuild, but the numbers just didn’t work. As you all well know, there have been several major downturns in dairy since 2001; there’s not a doubt in my mind that if we had rebuilt, we would be bankrupt by now. Was it an easy decision to make? In a way yes; the bank made the decision; they said that to rebuild would be putting all our equity at risk and they turned us down. In our hearts, it was a very painful thing. It truly took 3 years to come to peace with the decision; we now realize it was the right decision.
I am very thankful that we were able to raise our two boys on the farm while we were still dairying. The farm and our life on the farm made them who they are today; two independent, responsible young men with strong work ethics and great senses of humor. There were times when they were growing up that I felt like I was the worst mother in the world; Andy cried himself to sleep in the grain cart more than once while we were milking, I can’t help but think that helped him develop the patient nature he has!
We still farm, just differently. We make and sell dry hay, both small square bales and large square bales. This year’s weather has not cooperated, so 1st cut is being taken off much later than usual. We’ve made just 500 large square bales of processed hay so far, all in the single 4-day window Mother Nature allowed. The grasses have all headed out, so the quality is not as high as we’d like, but we have no trouble selling them to dairy farmers who mix it in their TMRs for ‘scratch’, additional roughage which helps maintain butterfat levels in the milk.
In January 2012, the farm will have been in the family for 100 years and we live in the house my husband was born in. I feel very lucky and proud to say that!