Chichester, New Hampshire
Spread over 300 beautiful acres in Chichester, New Hampshire, the Jones Farm is home to Gordon and Marion Jones and their family, which includes about 100 head of happy Holsteins. Gordon and Marion purchased the family farm, where Gordon has lived most of his life, from Gordon’s parents over a decade ago. Having raised their family there and being closely tied to the community, they are as much a part of the land and landscape as the trees, fields, and cattle dotting the countryside.
Life on the Jones Farm hasn’t always steady and serene. One year after they were married, Gordon and Marion’s house caught fire and was largely destroyed. A bad situation, but not the worst. The barn, which was attached to the house, was saved. A farmer can survive without a house for a while, but not without a barn. They have weathered setbacks both large and small, including health issues derived from the hard work of dairy farming. In spite of adversity, or maybe in part because of it. The Jones family and their farm has thrived.
Keeping the farm in the family & the family on the farm – the Joneses on @cabotcheese’s #FarmerFriday:http://ow.ly/KaDEc #farmlove
Says Gordon, “You have to keep your faith and spirits high.” Even with drops in the milk price, the occasional fire, medical emergencies, and a work day that would crush most people, Gordon and Marion keep moving down the path. Armed with faith and a love of farming, Gordon was able to keep operating at full speed even after three surgeries on his knee with the help of friends, neighbors, and some talented farm hands. The constant theme of community spirit and neighbors helping neighbors meant that good help was available when Gordon needed it most.
And the Jones family gives every bit as much as it gets. Gordon is a member of the township’s Conservation Commission and a good friend of the University of New Hampshire. It is not uncommon on short notice for Gordon to jump off his tractor, stop work for a few hours, and show agriculture students from the university the ins and outs of the trade. Said Gordon: “This is one of the joys of farming. Sharing our knowledge and our farm so the farming tradition can live on.”
If you’re interested in trying an incredible cheddar, you can find our 3 year cheddar only at Costco, featuring a photo of Gordon & Marion on the packaging. This week Gordon & Marion sat down to answer our Farmer Friday questions:
What is your favorite thing about being a dairy farm family?
Working together as a family.
What is your family’s favorite meal?
Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuits, made from chicken and carrots and potatoes that we grew.
Has your farm won any awards?
New England Green Pastures (New Hampshire Dairy Farm of the Year)- 1999
NH Dairy of Distinction, NHDA – 2004
Agri-Mark Region #2 Quality Milk Award – 2nd place – 2010, 2011, 2013. First place – 2012.
Dairy of Distinction Award, State of NH Public Health and Human Services – 2010, 2011.
What is your least favorite farm chore?
Marion – picking rock
Gordon – hauling manure in winter
What is your favorite time of year on the farm?
Springtime. Specifically the day the cows go out onto pasture!
What is the next big sustainability story on your farm?
To pass the farm on to the next generation! We also have a few tools we use to be good stewards of the land:
- Conservation tillage to reduce erosion and fuel consumption while also reducing soil compaction.
- Our Nutrient Management allows us to maximize the effectiveness of our fertilization while protecting the Environment.
- We are also one of only a few herds in New Hampshire that uses rotational grazing as part of their herd Management.
Does anyone in your family participate in any Volunteer Activities in the community?
- Gordon – Chichester Conservation Commission, NH Dairy Practices Committee, Board of Directors for Gardner Cove Conservation Association.
- Marion – Board of Directors for Granite State Dairy Promotion, Secretary for the Board of Directors for Gardner Cove Conservation Association, Leads a Mom’s Group at Epsom Bible Church.
What is one thing you would like people who have never experienced farm life to know?
The work is every day. All day. But we do this because we want to, not because we have to, because we aren’t smart enough to get work elsewhere, or because we fell into it. We choose to do what we do. Our motto around here is “get up every day and do what you know to be right.”