Bill Banker, his wife Corinne, and his brother Bruce are partners in Blue Hill Farm in Morrisville, New York. They brought the name with them from Connecticut. The Banker family grew up on a farm overlooking a blue hill in Connecticut before they moved to New York in 1988, and they wanted to bring a piece of their old state with them. The three partners have a clear division of labor: Bill handles the cattle, Bruce manages the machinery, and Corinne manages the breeding for the cattle, does the bookkeeping, and handles the computer work. They all pitch in with the crops. The Bankers are building their way up to 200 cows. They have 530 acres and use about 350 of them to grow corn silage, hay, and alfalfa.
The Bankers raised their three kids, Ben, Tyler and Jen, on the farm, and though they are all now adults, they all continue to work there when time permits. They are all front and center during hay season, and they all love the outdoors, working on the farm, and helping with the animals.
Dairy farming always has its unplanned moments, like when heifers find a break in the fence and wander off, or part of a barn collapses from heavy ice and snow accumulation in winter. The Bankers once narrowly missed a huge headache when there was a small fire in the utility room in the barn. Fortunately, it happened shortly after evening milking, and they spotted the smoke right away. They lost some equipment and had to repair the damaged electrical lines, but the cows were unharmed. Says Bill, "Things happen, and this was just a reminder of how quickly life can change on a farm."
The Bankers are also active off the farm and have been involved with the Farm Bureau for many years. Bill serves as a regional director for Agri-Mark, and this is a big commitment, which takes him away from the farm several days a month for board meetings. Corinne is president of the local soccer club, where you can usually find her when she's not working on the farm. She helps run the indoor athletic facility as the club administrator. Says Corinne, "The people in our neck of the woods are extremely supportive of dairy farming. They understand the role we play in providing safe and healthy food, and they do everything they can to make sure we succeed. This is a great place to farm."
Watch the interview with Bill below:
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