Flood Brothers Farm
The area around Clinton, Maine is known as Maine’s Dairy Capital. Five family farms there are responsible for more than 15% of the state’s milk production. And in the heart of dairy country is the Flood Brothers Farm, where 1600 cows produce 5% of Maine’s milk.
The farm itself is a logistical and technological marvel. Here are just a few of the impressive numbers and facts from the Flood Brothers Farm:
- 3,400 cows are cared for on the farm.
- Of those, 1,600 cows are milked three times a day, every day of the year.
- Daily milk production averages 138,000 per day or 16,000 gallons.
- Each cow’s average production is 85-90 pounds per day
- Each cow eats about 120 pounds of feed a day, and is allowed to eat when and where they please, ensuring they’re able to eat whenever they’re hungry.
- Each cow produces about 100 pounds of manure per day.
- Cows are milked in a state-of-the-art milking parlor. Their milk production and health are tracked and recorded by computer.
- All the dairy barns are free stall layout, allowing the cows to sleep wherever they are most comfortable.
- Cows have 24-hour access to feed and water.
We asked Jenni Tilton-Flood if she would answer our Farmer Friday Questions. Here is her take on life on a family farm.
What is your favorite thing about being a dairy farm family?
It is so rare that being a family can actually be the way you make your living. Being dairy farmers; putting the “family” in “family farm”; raising our children where their family was raised; being able to make our way of life our so called “job”…that’s what is amazing…and having all those life lessons that build character and values so readily available and part of every day, that’s my favorite thing about a being a dairy farm family. That we get to share it all with our family of cows and the dairy farming community is icing on the cake.
What is your family’s favorite meal? Care to share a recipe?
For most of the Spring, Summer and Fall when we are busy with crops breakfast can get rushed and come very early or really late so we depend on oatmeal, yogurt, fruit and smoothies (my daughter and I are HUGE fans of the Maple Moo Maple Moo Smoothie we found on the Cabot website). Lunchboxes throughout crop season can get so boring. There are a couple family favorites for breakfast and supper that are really filling, easy to prepare ahead of time and either freeze or heat and serve (which is handy if things go wonky and family meal time gets scrapped). Berries & Brie Breakfast Bake from CookieMonsterCooking.com is one we all love.
What is your least favorite farm chore?
I’ve always been pretty much game for any task or chore, but washing the windows of tractor cabs has NEVER been something I cared to do, which is probably why that chore was handed down to our kids who were made to believe it was a really awesome job. Aside from that, the most dreaded task for me has always been admitting I was stuck and needed to be twitched out. It was bad enough having to ask my husband, but it has become quite embarrassing and almost painful to have to ask my son to come to my rescue. He seems to enjoy those situations, maybe a little too much.
What is your favorite time of year on the farm?
I really do love 4 out of our 5 seasons here in Maine, with mud season being the exception. I used to enjoy being in the barns with the calves and heifers early in the morning in the winter when it was so peaceful. I love springtime and turning up soil and seeing the green poke through. I even love the heat and humidity of summer and the smells of grass being chopped and hay drying. And no year is complete without the crispness of fall weather and that distinct fall scent of corn being chopped.
What is the one thing you would like people who have never experienced farm life to know?
For those who have never experienced farm life I know most crave that connection with the animals, which is so much a part of every single day. But the one thing that I try to impart on people who visit the farm, or inquire about what we do, is not just the animals, or the tractors, or the field work, but it is the sum of everything. This farm IS our family, and our family IS this farm. It is a part of us, every bit of it, and we live our lives around it, through it, and because of it. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.