Jon and Kristie Lucas own the Lucas Dairy Farm in Starksboro, Vermont, and it's a place of wonder for all it represents. It may look like many other dairy farms with its 400 acres, its corn and alfalfa crops growing in the fields, and its 160 milkers and 130 young stock, but it stands for so much more.
The Lucas family purchased their herd this past January from Dave Russell, a long time member of Agri-Mark. Dave was looking to retire, and after working on the farm for three years, Jon and Kristie purchased the herd and leased the land. Dave still helps out, but Jon now runs the show. And he’s not alone. The Lucas family has a small platoon coming up the ranks behind them to help out.
Jon and Kristie have four young children, and they wanted to offer them the life style of a small town farming community. Paige (10) seems to enjoy the farm, “but she’s mostly a bookworm,” says Jon with a hint of resignation in his voice. Wyatt (8) and Augustus (3) run around the farm, hang out in the barn every chance they get, and they feed the calves any chance they get. Payton (17 months) is just getting her sea legs but is intrigued by the world around her. Jon and Kristie just love the fact that their commute is a short walk out the back door to their office of alfalfa and cornfields and a modern, super efficient milking parlor. Kristie keeps the books and rides herd on her own brood while Jon starts the first of three daily rounds of milking at 4:30 each morning. The days are long and hard but always satisfying.
“I studied ag and dairy farming at Vermont Tech,” says Jon, “and this is the life Kristie and I wanted for the family. We worked on dairy farms in New Hampshire for eight years before coming here to work for Dave, and this opportunity and timing were perfect for us. Milk prices are low and grain prices are high, which I wish were the other way around, but so far so good. I love the life and get to work with my family every day, so I think we’re here to stay.”
And one of the things Jon is most pleased with is the great support for dairy farming in Vermont. Says Jon: “The resources here are so much better than I’ve seen elsewhere. If I need parts for the milking parlor, they’re available. If I need a vet for the herd, I can find one with lots of big animal experience. And probably most important, the community is helpful and likes for its farms to succeed. It’s a great place to live and raise a family.”