Looking back, Nathaniel Brooks figures he fell in love with dairy farming before he was even old enough to realize it. He recalls being about six years old and standing in the barn at his best friend’s family farm. “I remember looking up at the cows and how big they were,” he says. As he got older, Nathanial would go over to spend the day and end up helping out for most of it. That turned into a job during high school and then full-time following graduation. “I’ve just always enjoyed it,” he says simply.
While dairy seemed his destiny, Nathaniel did not think he’d strike out on his own in that particular field. “I did always want to own my own business of some kind and I’d grown up in dairy,” he acknowledges, “but I didn’t think that I would necessarily start my own dairy farm.” Then he had the opportunity to lease a dairy farm. There, his 99-year-old great-grandmother, Ethel Taylor, would come to the cow barn with him and share reminiscences of the dairy she and her husband owned for years. In November of 2017, he was able to buy another nearby farm from Leon Levellie, a retired co-op member-farmer. “He wanted to make sure his land stayed in agriculture,” Nathaniel says with appreciation.