Bill, his brother Tom, and Bill's son Greg operate the Hytone Farm in Coventry, Connecticut. They own about 450 acres, 230 milking cows, and 210 head of young stock. Bill and Tom's mother Betty still does the bookkeeping for the business.
Bill and Tom's grandfather Giovanni purchased the family farm in 1944 after immigrating from Italy. He and his son Tony started out by raising fruits and vegetables for market. Over time this became less profitable because of the short growing season, and they decided to convert to dairy farming in 1960. Bill and Tom, their grandfather Giovanni, their dad Tony, and now Bill's son Greg have all made the Hytone Farm what it is today. The farming tradition for the Peracchios lives on.
While things are rarely the same in dairy farming from one day to the next, one thing is certain: the dairy industry endures dramatic swings in prices from year to year that affect the viability of family farms. One way to combat this is to form local cooperatives in which dairy farmers join forces to sell their milk and other dairy products to local consumers. The consumers get to buy products from people they know and trust, and the farmers have a local market that welcomes them. That's exactly what the Peracchios did when they became a charter member of "The Farmers' Cow," a group of six dairy farms in Connecticut that sells a portion of its milk to local outlets. It helps bring farmers and communities together, and it ensures a safe, nutritious product for local consumers.
The Peracchios are more than successful dairy farmers and business people, they are also gracious hosts. They open their farm once a year to 400 or more visitors who come to learn what dairy farming is all about. This is promoted by The Farmers' Cow and the Connecticut Bureau of Tourism. It's a big day they all look forward to, and it helps bring dairy farmers that much closer to the public.
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