Andover, Mass. - June is traditionally celebrated as “Dairy Month,” and the Agri-Mark dairy farmer cooperative is taking the opportunity to celebrate Rocky Acres Farm of Warren, Mass., which is operated by Robert and Martha Richardson along with their son Brian and his wife Heather. This farm recently won the Overall Top Quality Producer Award from Agri-Mark for the best milk quality record among all 1,100 cooperative members from their herd of 48 milking cows.
“This farm not only produces some of the best quality milk in the Northeast, they produce some of the finest in the country,” says Robert Stoddart, Agri-Mark’s Senior V.P. of Membership Services. “This family works hard every day to provide their animals with the best of care and it certainly shows.”
Brian and Heather take care of and milk the cows. Under their lead, the farm won second place overall in 2014 and improved to first overall for 2015 milk production. However, quality milk production is a tradition on Rocky Acres Farm. Robert and Martha now help with the crop work, bookkeeping and many other important chores on their farm, but back in 2006 they also won the Overall Top Quality Producer Award from Agri-Mark.
All of the Richardsons, no matter what generation, still have their sights set on quality milk and healthy, high quality cows. All of their animals on the farm are pastured as long as weather allows, and then dried off for the winter to resume milking again in the spring. The herd is milked twice a day.
“Every year we try to improve our herd and get each cow to do as well as they can in terms of production and quality,” says Brian.
Heather notes that the family’s goal is to make high quality milk because they drink the milk themselves and would not want an inferior product.
“We know our cows are healthy if they are producing top quality milk,” says Heather. “Having healthy cows is very important to us.”
This farm’s milk quality record is impressive, with a Somatic Cell Count average of 38,357, a Pasteurized Count average of 12 and a Raw Count average of 1,429 for 2015. The farm also boasts a farm inspection average score of 98. The family hopes to beat this milk quality record in 2016.
“It takes a lot of work to take care of 100 head of both milking cows and young stock each day, but we would not be doing it if we did not love what we are doing, “ Robert admits. “We are doing the best we can to take care of our land and the cows. Crops and cows are a 24/7 job for us. Our 500 acre farm is grass-based and we have been on this farm since 1961. We hope that a future generation will be farming this land another 55 years from now.”
Agri-Mark thanks the Richardsons and all of the other cooperative members during June Dairy Month for all their hard work and dedication to producing a top quality, nutrient rich product that helps to feed the nation and the world!
Agri-Mark, the premier dairy cooperative in the Northeast, had $917 million in 2015 sales and markets more than 336 million gallons of farm fresh milk each year for 1,100 dairy farm families in New England and New York. The cooperative is headquartered in Andover, Mass., has been marketing milk for dairy farmers since 1913, and actively represents their legislative interests in the Northeast and in Washington, D.C.
Agri-Mark farmers own the award-winning Cabot brand of Vermont Cheddar, butter and other dairy products in addition to the McCadam brand of New York Cheddar, Pepper Jack and other cheeses. Agri-Mark has also invested in operations to manufacture and market valuable whey proteins globally while also marketing fresh fluid milk from its local farm families to the region's largest dairy processors. For more information about Agri-Mark, visit our web site at www.agrimark.coop.