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March 31, 2014 | About WhatFarmingIs.com
How it all started for me
A small farmer in Upstate NY who discovered a passion for farms, food and animals through a journey of personal discovery. I raise beef, dairy and rose veal cattle, chickens and turkeys on 110 acres
March 31, 2014 | About WhatFarmingIs.com
How it all started for me
A small farmer in Upstate NY who discovered a passion for farms, food and animals through a journey of personal discovery. I raise beef, dairy and rose veal cattle, chickens and turkeys on 110 acres

The "why" in the road  

Many people I know that are involved in farming have been involved their entire lives. I was involved on my grandparent's small dairy farm when I was very young. Up until their farmhouse caught fire and they sold off the cows in the early 1980's anyway. I was seven or eight years old at the time. In the many years that followed, my paths in life took me away from the farm and into other career paths. I studied architecture and mechanical drawing, but after graduation I immediately went into the retail sales jobs. I upgraded positions, learned about sales and marketing in many different forms and also learned graphic design. I worked as a painter in there too.

On a fateful day in 2007, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. It changed my life drastically. My doctor recommended that I stay away from the chemicals I had currently been working with. After a failed attempt at doing medicinal treatments, we decided to try altering my diet instead. I started becoming more aware of food in general. Dairy and eggs were completely eliminated from my diet. Anything with yeast, like bread, and legumes. At that point, I didn't feel like I had much I was going to be able to eat at all.

Also during this same time frame, I was going through severe depression from not only being diagnosed with MS, but also due to major life challenges that stem from custody battles and a few wrong choices in life. I didn't know who I was, what my likes or dislikes were, and I had no idea about where I wanted to go in the future. It was suggested that I find the money to purchase a small $35 hand held camera. She wanted me to start taking photos of the things that I enjoyed and "spoke" to me. With my Kodak Easy Share 3.1 MegaPixel camera in hand, I started taking photos as I went on walks to think. I would stop along the road to take photos of barns, old houses, cows in pastures and horses gathered around haybales.

I soon discovered that farming and the nature within country settings is what really moves me. Not long after this discovery, I was given a little Jersey bull calf to raise for meat. He was a spoiled brat who got lots of attention, brushed daily and nothing but the best hay. When life got stressful, I would go sit with him for a little while and I noticed that all my anxieties would disappear. I just "was" around that animal. He was my daily therapy.

In the spring of 2008, I got a phone call that would seriously change my life again. An older Jersey cow at another farm needed a good home. She wasn't being fed properly and was in rough shape. She was very thin (the photo attached is from the first day she came). The very first moment I looked at that gentle lady, she stole my heart. As the months passed, her calves grew (she was nursing two that came with her) and she gained weight. She was a fantastic mother and an even better friend. She inspired much of what I do today on the farm.

Belle after a year with us on the farm

Since those days, the herd now consists of five purebred Irish Dexter Cattle and fifteen mixed breed Dairy cattle and steers. We also have a herd of around 50 chickens and two heritage turkeys. I am now able to eat the eggs from our chickens while they are pastured, I can also drink the milk from our cows. We have installed 110 acres of 5-strand high tensile fencing, built an addition on the barn and I even learned how to make my own cheese and butter. We raise meat chickens and turkeys during the summer months. And I've built a whole new career as an Agricultural Photographer. I've traded in my little camera for a whole kit of Canon goodies.

My road has had many "why's" not "y's". All those lead me back to the farming lifestyle. After many years away from the farm, I'm back. Living my dreams and following my passions. I was 33 years old when I came back to the land. Just goes to show that no matter the age or disability, you should follow your heart. 

The relationship that started the dream and the passion

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