Farmer Friday: Hidden View Farm

Hidden View Farm
Champlain, NY

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In 1953 when John Paul Tetreault bought Hidden View farm, it consisted of a few hundred acres and only 20 cows. Sixty-one years later, his sons Dan, Don, and Dale run a farm that is more than 1,000 acres with 600 milking cows and 500 plus young stock, which will one day become part of the milking herd. Those decades of dairy farming have been a long, rewarding journey for the family. In fact, the farm has been featured in Eastern Dairy Business Magazine and Hoards Dairyman for their herd management and growth. The Tetreaults have never purchased a single cow, breeding and raising the herd entirely from their own stock.

The three brothers grew up on the farm learning the tricks of the dairy trade from their father and from others in the dairy community. “It’s in our blood,” says Dale. In fact, farming goes back at least to the early 1800’s with the Tetreaults, and they are now in their third century of making a living off the land. Don’s daughter, Amanda, works full-time on the farm and manages the calves. His son, Brenton, worked part-time through college before returning to the farm. Dan’s two children, Matthew and Victoria, also work there part time. Last, but not least, Don, Dan, and Dale’s mom, Gloria, still does the bookkeeping for the farm, so they have three generations working side-by-side.

Though it’s the busiest time of the year on the farm, sister and brother Amanda and Brenton Tetreault took time to answer our Farmer Friday questions and share some of the pictures from their family photo album with us.

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What is your favorite thing about being a dairy farm family?

Brenton- Even though it’s sometimes tough working with family, I feel that it makes us closer and we always get the job done.

Amanda– I agree. Farming families are some of the closest knit families I’ve ever seen. We may disagree and get on each others nerves but we always pull together in the face of any tough challenge that presents itself and can then sit down together to dinner afterwards.

calf hug

What is your family’s favorite meal? Care to share a recipe?

We are in agreement on this one. Our mom makes a fantastic Cheeseburger Soup that is perfect for cold winter days or rainy days or any day really!

Hidden View Farm Cheeseburger Soup

Hidden View Farm Cheeseburger Soup

What is your least favorite farm chore?

Brenton– Shoveling out the dry cow barn feed bunk.

Amanda– Cleaning out the calf hutches in the spring after they’ve built up with straw and sawdust all winter.

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What is your favorite time of year on the farm?

Brenton– My favorite time of year would have to be right when daylight savings time begins. It’s still cold out and kind of snowy, but there is more light in the day to get things done.

Amanda– Late summer. There is nothing better then going to bed with the sun and waking up before dawn to see the sun rise over the corn fields. Plus there is more time in the day.

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What is one thing you would like people who have never experienced farm life to know?

Brenton– Knowing that at the end of the day, the job that I do has a positive impact on not only my family, but also on my community by providing high quality dairy products in an ethical way to consumers.

Amanda– That there are days that are so tiring and difficult that all you want to do is quit. But then you stop and watch a newborn calf trying to stand for the first time and it makes all the hard work, sweat, and tears worth every challenge. It’s not an easy life by any means but we love our animals and we love what we do and we wouldn’t change a minute of it.

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Click here to take a Virtual Tour of Hidden View Farm.

Comments

John Curran | May 09, 2015 | 8:21am

Why do you keep the calves in hutches, separated from their mothers ?

    Rachael | May 18, 2015 | 12:08pm

    Thanks for the comment John! Most calves are kept with the mother for a short period of time to the calf can drink some colostrum, milk from its mother, and so it can ingest many of the antibodies present in the mother’s milk for a healthy start. Each farmer’s routine may be slightly different, bust most keep the calf with the mother for 12 to 48 hours. Calves are often born weighing less than 100 pounds and raised separately to avoid being hurt by a 1,500 to 2,000 pound cow by accident and so they can be cared for individually in a much cleaner environment to help them get a healthy start. Some are raised in calf hutches outside, as you have seen, while many are raised in nearby barns.

Kristin Haskins | November 29, 2017 | 2:15pm

Cow hugs……I can’t even imagine that…..!

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