West Glover, VT
Mark Rodgers currently owns Andersonville Dairy, which is appropriately named after the corner of West Glover in which it sits. The farm has been an example of village working together, having been overseen by several families in the community since it was founded in the 1880’s.
Mark, a native of the Northeast Kingdom town, was originally partners with Ted Young, who has since retired from the farm and its 610 tillable acres, with 210 milking cows and roughly 200 young stock.
Ted Young’s father purchased the farm in 1935 and added several parcels over the years. Ted grew up on the farm and became a partner in 1972. He and his wife, Rebecca, raised three children there. Though the children chose paths outside of dairy farming, Ted says, “They all learned to love the land and developed a strong work ethic. It’s a great place to raise a family.”
Mark worked at the farm full-time before joining Ted and taking an equity interest in 1996. He purchased all shares from Ted in 2011 and has run the farm since. This year, the farm is seeing the beginnings of another generational transition. As Ted did for him, Mark will be gradually transferring the farm to longtime Manager James Coe. Mark, who serves on the Cooperative’s Board of Directors, will continue to be active in the cooperative and remain a managing partner at Andersonville Dairy for the time-being.
Through the evolution of Andersonville Dairy, the quality and reputation have remained consistently outstanding. The farm has received numerous milk quality & breeding awards, including Vermont Dairy Farm of the Year. The cheesemakers who receive milk from Andersonville Dairy have benefitted as well, with both Cabot Creamery and Jasper Hill Farm winning some of the most prestigious awards in the world. Just last week Jasper Hill’s ‘Bailey Hazen Blue’ was awarded ‘World’s Best Unpasteurized Cheese’ at the World Cheese Awards in London.
This week Mark Rodgers sat down to answer our Farm Friday questions. Thanks Mark!
What is your favorite thing about being a dairy farm family?
A dairy farm is a great place to raise a family. My daughter Megan and son Tyler both learned a great deal about responsibility, public relations, science, biology, and life in general by growing up on a dairy. It gives a family the opportunity to work together and share experiences.
What is your family’s favorite meal? Care to share a recipe?
Grilled cheeseburgers with Cabot White Oak Cheddar, homemade baked beans (yes I make them) and grilled potatoes and onions with a big glass of milk.
What is your least favorite farm chore?
Cleaning frozen manure out of barns in winter.
What is your favorite time of year on the farm?
Spring is a great time as the grass starts growing and we can move animals out of the barns into pasture. Spring brings a relief to the extra work, stress, and time winter brings to a dairy. We also plan to have large numbers of calves as the weather begins to warm up into spring.
What is one thing you would like people who have never experienced farm life to know?
I have visited with hundreds of people over the years who had no idea what farm life was like and they are overwhelmed with the work ethic, dedication to the environment, and care of our animals 24/7/365 that dairy farmers have. Our commitment to caring for our animals and providing food for our families, friends and the public keeps us motivated to keep doing what we are doing.
If you would like to know more, or to take a virtual tour of Andersonville Dairy LLC click here.