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Travel with Bennett-Watt and learn about the Connecticut dairy farms located just outside Abington.
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Conneticut Dairy Farm
Host: Just outside Abington, another community in the quiet corner, the day starts early on the Rich Farm. Yesterday, Linda Rich was wearing her, running the Brooklyn Fair hat. This morning, she’s feeding calves. Linda and husband, Chap, ran a 50-cow dairy operation.
Linda Rich: We feed them on a bottle, we like them to nurse on their mom for a little while and now, we feed them the bottle. And then after they get a good start, we put them on a pail. These guys are big and they’re getting ready to go out to an outside Pasteur. So, we try to feed them a little less milk with more water so they get used to being weaned on. Then that makes more room for the new ones.
We usually have, most of our cows out in September, October in the fall. So everybody is still good during the summer. They’re like kids, you’ll love them, and sometimes you don’t like them. Actually, when they get loose they get out in the middle of the road or in the neighbor’s garden. They have bad days just like we do and for the most part, they’re part of our family. You kind of be sure that from farmers right now, when you’re like them. Maybe we should just cut our horses and get out and then you come down in the morning. We’ll stick it out a little longer.
It will get better or when it’s in your blood, it’s in your blood and you just can’t—it’s not like a job, it’s just part of your life. So there’s a fine line where it’s just like a line and it’s hard to make a difference you won’t play out of. So this is what it is. And say if you have to milk on your birthday, you have to milk on Christmas. It’s everyday twice a day, no matter what the weather, what the conditions; hurricanes, snow storms. We still have to come down and milk the cows and feed the babies twice a day.
Host: Like farmers everywhere, their lives schedule and to an extent, fortune, depend on the weather. Fortunately this morning a much needed rain, the first in several weeks. They raise hay and corn for storage, feed for their calves, timely moisture is crucial for a good crop.
Chap: I’ve always lived up the way of the family farm, up here. And then I always had cattle’s and forage, I just like to bear in cows and this space comes up the least and we kind of put the two farms together. Like this farm here is a commercial farm and we step on our family home. The Rich Farm is really big enough to keep going like we were. And I if put the two together, I was able to make a living, exist and that’s about it. It’s our way of life; it’s about where it is.
It is a good way of life but it’s near impossible for a younger generation to get into it because they can’t afford the old have to do this. And for a small family, it would. It will be a really good way to raise your kids. Because you keep them busy and they’re out of trouble.
Host: Most Rich offspring have embraced their parent’s passion for farming. Daughter Becky has a new baby and son Samuel, in addition to his other responsibilities combines his love for horses and farming by doing a lot of his work, the old fashioned way.
Sam: Do the same thing every time you hook on the—we did try and so—
Female: They have it right. Right track in the right places or you’re in trouble.
Host: Even 98-year old granny gets involved. Just to make sure Sam’s getting everything hooked up correctly.
Female: What is the secret to a long life?
Granny: Cook your own food so you know what you’re eating. I do everything from scratch. Always have. By going the grocery store and buying out and taking food out of the cabinets, taking and putting it in the microwave. Not for me. I don’t know the microwave, I don’t want one.
Sam: Well, it’s definitely a tricky industry. When I was a kid, these people have dairy farms within five miles on 97 then now we are on out of two. Maybe years, we were discussing how hard way to make a living and it’s not a lot of money here. So you’re going to really try and do it and lands are coming really expensive. So we try and buy it for them, they don’t go out and buy it for them you and we’ll make it. Going to enjoy it, going to like what you do.
Host: There’s one more important chapter to the Rich story. One that will make you smile, I’ll get later in the show.