The Cushman family has farmed the area near North Franklin, CT for six generations. Though their roots began small, today the Cushmans, along with the Smith family, manage more than 1,000 acres in Franklin, Lebanon, and Bozrah counties. Under the guidance of Jim Smith and Nate Cushman, the dairy operation milks nearly 600 cows each day.
Nate Cushman learned early that farming requires work: he milked 20-25 cows every morning before heading off to school. Partnering with his father on the family's farm, Nate has watched the herd outgrow the stanchion barn built in 1955 to a new 105-stall freestall barn in 1966 into today's 600-head milking center. Nate earned a BS and MS at the University of Connecticut in Agricultural Economics, and cultivated the growth of the family operation to accommodate future generations.
Jim Smith represents the next generation on the Cushman Farms. Growing up and working on the farm through his youth, Jim and his brother Donald share the responsibility for managing this multi-location farming enterprise. Jim and his wife Kathleen have three sons.
Their newest dairy complex includes a rotary parlor that milks 30 cows at a time, and their barn offers free movement and private stall space for nearly 600 milking cows. The calves and heifers are still raised at the home farm.
The Cushman Farms employs 14 employees to manage its 900 acres of corn, 300 acres of grass, and to milk the cows three times a day, every day. Each milking takes five hours, and each day more than 5,000 gallons of milk are produced - enough milk to supply a city the population of Norwich! To produce all that milk the cows feast on a mixture of corn silage, grass silage, canola, hominy, and minerals.
In addition to being members of Cabot Creamery Cooperative, the Cushmans and Smiths are members of The Farmer’s Cow, a cooperative of six Connecticut family-owned farms who have branded their milk, creams and other local products including eggs, apple cider, and ice cream. The Farmer’s Cow brand of ‘Fresh Connecticut Milk’ was launched in October of 2005. Their products can be found in stores and restaurants across Connnecticut.
The Cushmans and Smiths are also founding members of Very Alive, and are active supporters of Farm Bureau, 4-H, and Future Farmers of America. Each year they host a popular walk for the Quinnebaug Shetucket Heritage Corridor’s Walking Weekends through their operation and farm property. The partners of Cushman Farms look forward to continued growth for their family farm and Connecticut Agriculture.