Scott and Traci Cleveland own the Cleveland Farm in Wells, Vermont, where they manage about 320 acres, 130 milkers, and some 60 young stock. Almost all the land is tillable and they make good use of it by growing their own corn and hay, and by pasturing the cattle when the weather allows. The family pays particular attention to the nutrients they provide their cattle. For the Clevelands, providing the best quality milk and maintaining the health of the herd are their top priorities.
Scott grew up on his uncle’s farm and has been dairy farming since he was a youngster. His dad grew up on a dairy farm and his grandparents were dairy farmers. As Traci says, “It’s just in his blood.” Scott set out on his own in 1984 and rented his first farm in Wells, Vermont. Scott and Traci then relocated and rented a farm before purchasing the Cleveland farm in 1994. They haven’t looked back since. Scott and Traci both work full time on the farm, and they get a helping hand from their kids. Justin helps with milking, cleaning the barn and crop work, and has recently taken the helm of the tractor. Jonathan helps with the young stock and does barn chores. Everybody pitches in to make it all work.
Since dairy farming is a seven-days-a-week job, from before dawn to after dusk, vacations are a rare event and must be savored. On those rare times when they can get away for a few days, the Clevelands can call on Scott’s dad and some close friends to take care of things. They don’t abuse that trust, but they’re sure glad they have some reliable, experienced farmers who can handle matters for them when the need arises.
To hear Traci speak, you simply get caught up in her enthusiasm: “Yes. It’s hard work with long hours. But it’s a great life and the best place ever to raise your family. I can’t imagine doing anything else.” With that kind of infectious enthusiasm wearing off on her children, it seems the farm is heading into the next generation.