Paul Chittenden and his three adult sons, Brian, Alan, and Nathan own Dutch Hollow Farm in Schodack Landing, New York, and it's a big spread. They milk 550 Jersey cows, have 450 replacement stock, and manage 2,000 acres of land. In addition to harvesting their own crops, the family harvests another 1,200 acres for 11 other farms in the area as well. Paul is a third generation dairy farmer, and his grandfather and father had their farm in Hancock, Massachusetts. They later moved to New Lebanon, New York where they set up the Fair Weather farm, which Paul's younger brother ultimately took over. Paul moved to Schodack Landing in 1976 and has been running Dutch Hollow Farm ever since.
When Paul and Melanie Chittenden originally purchased Dutch Hollow Farm, they started with 55 cows and 165 acres. It has been a long, steady climb since then, and all hands have pitched in. The three boys were raised on the farm and are now partners in the operation with their dad and mom. Alan is responsible for herd management, and it ranks among the top in the country. Brian manages the crops and grows about 650 acres of corn, 180 of soy, 150 of grain, and 1,000 acres of hay. Nathan oversees the calves and heifers and is always ready to lend Brian a hand with the crops. Melanie is the other family partner, and she helps with the calves and does the bookkeeping.
The Chittendens are always busy managing the farm, but they still find time for other things. Paul is past president of both the New England and New York Jersey Association and the American Jersey Cattle Association. Says Paul, "We think Jerseys provide the very best milk, and that's all we breed on the farm." Paul's dad was president of the New England and New York Jersey Association and the American Jersey Cattle Association some thirty years before him, and his son Alan was a recent president, so the honor has now fallen to three consecutive generations in the Chittenden family. Not to be left out, Brian was also a recent president of the New York Jersey Association, so senior executive positions seem to run in the family.
The Chittendens also have hundreds of visitors to their farm every year, and it has become such a common thing that Brian's wife Beth has actually created a Discovery Center dedicated to educating the public about Dairy Farming. They have 4-H members, pre-school and elementary school groups, and scout troops there all the time. The local high school sends their environmental class by each spring, and students from the University of Ohio have come by to do a round of practice judging on the farm before assuming that critical role at the state fair. Says Paul, "Our farm is open to all comers, and we love to have them come by for a visit."
Each year the Chittendens open the farm to the public with their 'Annual Day at the Dairy' the first weekend in August. Groups and families are also invited to visit the farm to learn about modern agriculture by scheduling a tour a few weeks in advance.