Cedar Meadows Farm, LLC was started in 1970 by Allen's parents, Reg & Mary Jean Chester. It began with 30 cows and 150 acres. In 1985, Allen returned to the farm after graduating from SUNY Cobleskill. In 1988 Amy joined the farm as Allen's wife. In 1990, a milking facility with a twenty cow parlor and free stall were added. Over the years the farm grew to 250 cows and 250 head of young stock with a 23,000 # herd average.
Paradise Valley Farm was started in 1923 by Bernie's great-grandfather, Earl Moulton. Through the years the farm transitioned from Earl to Elmer (Earl's son) to Terry and Sandy (Elmer's son and daughter-in-law). In 1989, Bernie joined the farm after graduating from SUNY Cobleskill. In 1994, Amy, Reg and Mary Jean's youngest daughter, married Bernie and joined the farm after graduating from SUNY Plattsburgh with an accounting degree. At the time of the merger, Paradise Valley Farm was milking 220 cows and had 200 young stock.
In 2008, after much planning C&M Dairy, LLC was formed. With combining the two farms it solved problems like land base, outdated facilities, and duplication of equipment and labor. This created C&M Dairy to the size it is today; 575 cows, 580 young stock and a land base of about 2,000 acres. This also made it possible for the older generation to slow down and enjoy off-farm activities.
Today C&M Dairy is managed by Allen and Bernie. Allen's wife, Amy, takes care of calves and registering animals, as well as working at the local school. Allen & Amy's son, Brad, has returned to the farm and is working towards becoming a member of the LLC. Their daughter, Brittany, works on the farm part-time, while her full-time job is a flag person for Barrett's Paving Inc. Camryn, their youngest daughter, is twelve. She works on the farm and shows cattle at the local fairs. She also plays basketball at school and on a traveling team. Camryn is part of the local 4-H Club and county Jr. Holstein Association.
Bernie and Amy have two children, Paige and Nathan. Amy is a CPA and takes care of the financial record keeping and tax reporting of C&M Dairy, as well as having her own accounting business. Paige is fourteen and involved with the local 4-H Club, FFA, county Jr. Holstein Association and is a Dairy Princess Ambassador. She enjoys working on the farm, especially with the animals and showing her cattle at the local fairs. She also plays soccer and softball and is in the local figure skating club. Nathan is twelve and is also a member of the local 4-H Club and county Jr. Holstein Association. He enjoys working on the farm and showing his cattle at the local fairs. Nathan plays hockey, soccer, lacrosse and baseball.
In addition to the family members, C&M Dairy employs eight employees which is a necessity for an operation of this size. The employees are part of our team that help to make our dairy operation a success.
C&M Dairy is a successful operation today because it is based on values created by the older generations; truth, honesty and when problems arise you do what you have to to make sure the farm remain strong. These aren't always easy choices to make, but you have to make them and move forward. With our business module in place and seeing the success developing, it is encouraging for the next generation to take us to the next level.