When you speak with Dennis Ferland, you quickly realize that he's the real deal. A third generation farmer located near Poland Springs in Maine, Dennis purchased the family farm in 1984, and it has been growing steadily since. One cow, one acre, one tractor at a time. He manages 550 acres and 270 cows. He also runs several businesses on the side, such as selling hay and silage, managing a storage facility, and running a few income properties. Dairy farming is at the heart of it all, but the secondary projects help provide balance when the milk market is down.
Says Dennis: My Dad was very cautious and tried to plan for every bad possibility. I guess I picked up the habit from him, and now if we have a good year, I make sure we invest back into the farm. We pre-pay part of next years grain, upgrade our equipment, and make sure were prepared for any swing in the market. Thats a good plan given the wild fluctuations in milk prices.
And Dennis has another idea that hasn't quite taken off yet. He's still hopeful all the same. Dennis thinks farmers should shoot a movie, a video showing exactly what dairy farming is all about. The farmers commitment to their work, their contributions to the community, how you milk a cow, what it takes to run a dairy farm, and most important of all, what might happen if these farms go away. Says Dennis: People just have too many mistaken notions of what dairy farming is all about, and this would be great for schools and the industry. There is also nobody better at recycling and reusing everything than farmers. It's in our nature to be friendly to the environment, and people could learn a lot from our business.
And finally, says Dennis, it's important to make a more lasting contribution to the world. To that end, Dennis helps the local dog sled racing club. While he does not race teams himself, he clears and maintains sledding and hiking trails around his property so mushers can train their teams for competition in the northeast.