In 2011, Maple Downs Farm was destroyed by Hurricane Irene, which hit certain areas of the Northeast incredibly hard. “It wiped out our farm, our business. It wiped out our home. My car was totaled. Trucks were totaled,” recalls Denise Lloyd. “Even worse, we lost 47 of our cows. Everywhere you look, it affected every part of our lives.” It took a while for the family to assess the damage and slowly start to rebuild, but “the thought of not doing so never crossed our minds,” says Denise.
The Schoharie Valley boasts such rich farmland that it was nicknamed “The Breadbasket of the Revolution” for its role in providing food to the American army. The Lloyds’ herd of registered Holsteins is known worldwide for its high quality, perhaps leading to a new nickname, as “The Holstein Nursery of the World.” The family went into genetics to diversify beyond shipping milk, explains Denise. “We market across the country, and have even sold to farmers in Canada, Germany and England.”