Erin McCormick runs Travel Like a Local: Vermont, a blog dedicated to recommendations for experiencing Vermont like a local.
“Do not cross this pasture, unless you can do it in nine seconds ‘cause the bull can do it in 10.”
Salem is an upstate New York community of fewer than 3,000 inhabitants. Located in Washington County, east of Saratoga Springs and southeast of Lake George, it’s a town steeped in Revolutionary and Civil War history and rural charm. Nowadays, Salem is primarily an agricultural community. Farming is a vital part of the town’s economy.
At Woody Hill Farm, technology meets agriculture. Automation in the parlor helps the farm operate efficiently to ensure all 1,200 cows make it through the rotation. There are two rotary milking parlors inside Woody Hill Farm that help automate the milking process, improving yield and increasing output while reducing labor. There are 18 full-time inside crew members and 7 full-time outside crew members who help ensure the cows are rotated through for milking. Woody Hill Farm employs over 25 people, many of whom have been with the farm for over 20 years.
All of the cows have their information stored digitally. Woody Hill Farm streamlines its operations through implementing advanced, 21st-century technologies for milking that allow the owners and the farm’s staff to find efficiencies for the milkers and the cows.
Once Woody Hill Farm’s cows are milked, the milk runs through an intricate system into an Agri-Mark tanker for transportation. Each tanker holds 69,500 pounds of milk, which is equivalent to 8,081 gallons or 129,296 eight-ounce glasses of milk. Milk is stored in the tanker at 34 degrees. In 24 hours, Woody Hill Farm’s cows make 101,000 pounds of milk, totaling 11,800 gallons or 188,250 eight-ounce glasses of milk.
Complete with a sand mound for climbing, a “sandbox” full of corn kernels, and a petting farm with goats and three young calves, the open-farm day was a family affair. It was also a chance for Woody Hill Farm to demonstrate effortlessly how everyone in their family—from children to grandparents—plays a role on the farm.
At Open Farm Sunday, kids nibbled on samples of Cabot’s New York Vintage premium aged cheddar cheese from the Farmers’ Legacy Collection, while also collecting coloring books and scavenger hunt booklets and choosing their favorite Cabot-branded temporary tattoos. Washington County’s Dairy Princess, along with Dairy Ambassadors, attended the event to teach visitors about cows and agriculture at large. When families weren’t touring Woody Hill Farm’s acreage by a hay ride, the large milking parlor was open for observation and the barns were open for visiting with the cows. Guests could also feed the goats and the baby calves for a hands-on agriculture experience to get a taste of the daily-life the Sheldon and Cary families live and breathe.