Todd Armstrong was raised on the Pine Grove Farm that he and his wife Danielle operate. Todd’s father was born on this same land, and his grandfather ran the farm before him. With four children of their own, it seems likely that the Pine Grove Farm will move on to yet another generation of Armstrongs when the time comes. The Armstrongs’ Pine Grove Farm has also been awarded “Dairy of Distinction” honors for many years, so they run a well-oiled operation.
Todd and Danielle have about 300 acres, 60 milking cows, and 120 cattle overall. And they work it all themselves. The do not have any hired help, and even though Danielle is a full-time schoolteacher and Todd works for the postal service, they still find a way to manage the farm without help and run a first-class operation. Running the farm is a full-time commitment, seven days a week, every week of every year – all on top of their other employment.
When asked what it’s like to raise his children on the farm, Todd pauses and says: “The kids may not quite understand it at this point in their lives, but they are learning things first-hand that some people never learn. They are responsible for their own animals; they know what it means to work hard and be responsible; and they have a love for the land and the animals.” Todd knows it’s a great life. It’s not an easy life, and it’s not always profitable, but it’s a great life in many ways that can’t be measured in dollars and cents.
The Armstrongs’ farm is also a bit different from many other dairy farms. They have a long tradition of raising sheep as well as dairy cattle. In fact, Todd’s grandfather raised Shropshires and registered sheep that were prized all across the country. Todd has continued the tradition, but he is quick to say that they will always milk cattle on their farm and that is their core business. Dairy farming will always be their primary focus, but the family takes great pride and pleasure in raising and showing other animals as well. Says Todd: “It’s all about the lifestyle, the land, and the animals. We’re here for the long term.”