When they had the opportunity to launch their operation, Tim started full-time on the farm while Katlyn initially worked off-farm part-time as a milk tester, traveling around the county collecting milk samples and keeping herd management records for the farmers. “I got to visit lots of farms and help them, while also getting to learn about different ways to manage a dairy,” says Katlyn.
These kinds of insights helped the young couple build their own knowledge base. They also rely on the strong, local farmer network. “The dairy farming community in this area is very close- knit,” says Katlyn. “Everybody is willing to share information and lend each other a hand when needed. It is super important to us. They’re like extended family.”
While waterbeds for cows might sound funny, “they are an economical way to optimize cow comfort,” explains Katlyn. The significant one-time investment, she says, has paid for itself in an overall healthier herd and increased milk production. “The cows do so well,” Katlyn says happily. “They really seem to appreciate the fluffy, floating water beds. Our cows sleep better than I do!”
Melissa Pasanen is an award-winning Vermont-based journalist and cookbook author with a focus on food, farming, and sustainability. She was the writer for The Cabot Creamery Cookbook (Oxmoor House, 2015).