Robert and Linda Dimmick own Neighborly Farms in Randolph, Vermont, and Linda refers to it as "The Miracle Farm." Robert and Linda took over the farm shortly after they were married at 22 years of age, and she was pregnant with their first child. Robert said he wanted to raise their kids on the farm the same way he grew up, so they purchased the land from Robert's parents, bought their own herd, and got to work. It has been a long journey.
Linda was a dental hygienist when they purchased the farm and knew little more than that farms were nice places to look at. “I’ve had 23 years of on-the-job training,” jokes Linda. “I took some ag, dairy, and bookkeeping courses at Vermont Tech, and dove in.” The Dimmicks raised their three children on the farm, and the oldest son Bobby, who is a diesel mechanic like his dad was once, is now expressing an interest in returning. For Robert, that is music to his ears because he would be thrilled to keep the farm in the family for generations to come.
The Dimmicks milk 60 cows and manage about 65 young stock, and they have been Agri-Mark members since the first day they started. Herd size has gone up and down over the years, and Robert’s parents once had about 180 milkers, but they find this size herd is optimal for them to manage. “We have great help on the farm and in the cheese shop, so we can get away once in a while,” says Linda. “That makes life a little easier for all of us.
Dairy farming has not been an easy path for the Dimmicks, and while it’s their first love, they have learned that it’s important for them to have other income streams when milk prices don’t pay the bills. They produce about 65,000 pounds of cheese each year, which they sell mostly throughout New England, and in Cabot stores, of course. They give tours of their cheese making facility and milking process regularly, and you will often find a bus of tourists roaming the property. The family has a maple syrup business in season, and they own a store on the farm where they sell their cheese and syrup and local jam, honey, crackers, and gift items.
While all this may sound like juggling feathers in a wind storm, the Dimmicks still find time to work in the community. Both their sons are on the local fire department, and Robert served on the town planning board. They are active in their church, and Linda is a foundation member of the local 4H, which means she is involved in all their fundraising activities to send kids to summer camps and supports year round programs. Finally, as Linda says with pride, “we are the first small farm to put in a methane digester for electric power, so we actually add electrical power to the grid instead of taking it off.”
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