Bob Chambers and his brother Jim own the 1,200-acre Chambers Valley Farm in Salem, New York. It's been in the family for four generations, and surely more Chambers will follow. Lissa, Bob's daughter, works the farm full time and describes her life and her work there with infectious enthusiasm. She and the 14 other full and part-time employees manage some 1,500 cattle, with 700 milkers, and they have a workload that never allows a rest.
Lissa graduated college with a degree in "ag business," and she's barely left the farm since.
Bob and Jim try to give all the employees every other weekend off, but that's only "off season" when they're not planting or harvesting crops, or when a heifer isn't having problems calving, or when there's no extra work to do. That is to say, periodic weekends off are a goal, never a guarantee. It just goes with the territory.
Farm family parents often talk fondly about raising their children on the farm, but it seems the children love farm life every bit as much as their parents. Lissa is quick to point out that she loves the farm "in her soul." Farming teaches life lessons, helps you learn responsibility, and forces you to pitch in to help the family, starting at an early age. Other things like school, sports, college, and friends are all very important, but the farm is the heart of the family, and it keeps them all pulling in the same direction. Lissa plans to be there for the rest of her life, and she hopes to teach all those same lessons to her own children as time goes by.
Of course the Chambers Valley Farm is open to all school groups, passers-by, and high school students. The Chambers family opens their barn to everybody, and often has high school interns there learning the tricks of the trade and how to run a farm efficiently. The family supports their community in every way they can, and the community is grateful to know the family is there working day in and day out to provide the best possible dairy products to the community.
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