Country Cousins Farm – Evans Mill, New York
Country Cousins Farm, a short distance from Lake Ontario in Evans Mill, NY, is under the care of first-generation farmers Stan and Sharon Horning. The family has tended to the farm and their herd of 100 Holsteins since 1993.
Stan, though not an upstate New York native, grew up in a strong farming community. As a kid, he loved visiting and helping out on his grandfather’s farm in Lancaster, PA. After graduating from high school, he took a job in construction, but when work dried up, he decided to try his hand at farming, taking a full-time job on his uncle Clinton’s farm. During that time, he met Sharon and got married, and after a few years, got the itch to purchase land of his own. In 1990, he found a farmer in Lebanon, PA who let him buy a few cows, and he began growing his own stock. In 1993, with less than 20 Holsteins to his name, he moved to Evans Mills, NY. With the help of his grandfather, he began renting a farm and bought more Holsteins, and after three years, he acquired what has become Country Cousins Farm. 20 years later – in March of 2013 – the Hornings joined the Agri-Mark family.
Country Cousins Farm, least fave farm chore: silo unloader in subfreezing temps & more frm @cabotcheese http://ow.ly/HKZLi #FarmerFriday
Stan and Sharon have four children: Angela and Ryan have each gotten married and moved off the farm; Jennilea will soon complete her Elementary Education Degree; and Derek has developed a passion for farming and has decided to stay and work with his family. Stan handles the majority of the field work on the farm’s 200 tillable acres in addition to the morning milking. Derek – and his siblings, from time to time – handles the evening milking and helps out with the field work. Sharon does most of the feeding.
In addition to their dairy operation, the Hornings have opened the farm to guests for day trips and overnight stays, where they can join the family for milkings and feedings, or just sit back and enjoy a relaxing, peaceful vacation and home-cooked meals. “We love the farm life,” says Stan. “There isn’t much I find more rewarding than seeing our animals and crops grow, responding to the care we give them. While there’s a lot of hard work and stress that come with the job, seeing what comes from your labor makes it all worthwhile.”
This week Stan sat down to answer our farmer Friday questions:
What is your favorite thing about being a dairy farm family? While it is a lot of hard work it also can provide plenty of family togetherness time. What is your family’s favorite meal? Care to share a recipe? Sharon is a fantastic cook and makes so many great meals it is hard to come up with a favorite. There is lasagna (featuring Cabot Cheese!), juicy steaks, roasts baked with carrots and potatoes. Then there is the fruit pies and cakes with home canned fruit. What is your least favorite farm chore? There is a two-way tie between working on a silo unloader in subfreezing weather and working on the barn cleaner.
What is your favorite time of year on the farm? Summer, when the crops are planted and growing and the cows can get out on pasture.
What is one thing you would like people who have never experienced farm life to know? We do our best to care for our animals and land.