The three Tetreault brothers, Dan, Don, and Dale run Hidden View Farm in Champlain, New York. When their dad, John Paul, first bought the farm in 1953, they had a few hundred acres and milked 20 cows. It was hand to mouth at the time, and they often had to steal bolts from one piece of equipment to get another one to run. Over the years, they have built the farm up and now have over 1,000 acres, 600 milking cows, and about 500 replacement stock. It's been a long, rewarding journey. The farm has been featured in Eastern Dairy Business Magazine and Hoards Dairyman for the Tetreaults' herd management and growth over the years. They have never purchased a single cow and have bred and raised the herd entirely on their own.
The three brothers grew up on the farm learning the tricks of the dairy trade. "It's in our blood," says Dale. In fact, farming goes back at least to the early 1800's with the Tetreaults, and they are now in their third century of making a living off the land. Don's daughter, Amanda, works full-time on the farm and manages the calves. His son, Brenton, worked part-time through college before returning to the farm. Dan's two children, Matthew and Victoria, also work there part time. Last, but not least, Don, Dan, and Dale's mom, Gloria, still does the bookkeeping for the farm, so they have three generations working side-by-side.
For all its many attractions, dairy farming requires relentless hours and can be dangerous. In fact, in 1991, Don flipped their tractor and survived the accident against all odds. According to most estimates, only one person in a half million would have lived through it and walked away to farm another day. Don was that person. Pictures of Don and the flipped tractor are now a legendary part of farm safety. The Tetreaults have installed roll-over safety equipment on their tractors, and pictures of Don's accident have helped make this a standard safety feature on most tractors used in New England dairy farming today.
But it's not always hard work and flipped tractors on the Tetreaults' farm. The three brothers all played hockey growing up and continue to be avid fans. Of course, they support different teams, which often makes for spirited debates during the playoffs. John Paul roots for the Rangers, Dan pulls for the Islanders, and Don and Dale are Sabres fans. This is all a bit odd, however, since the nearest hockey team, the Montreal Canadians, is only 40 miles away. Says Dale, "At least we managed to support New York teams, even if not the same one."