Paul, his wife Sherry, and their son Bryan run the Doton Farm in Barnard, Vermont The farm is now in its fourth generation, and they have 110 cattle and milk about 60 on their 400 acres. And it’s a good thing Paul has Sherry and Bryan nearby because he has his hands full.
As with most farmers, the work day starts early, around 4:15 in Paul’s case, when most of us are just entering deep sleep. Clean the barn and do the morning milking. Breakfast around 7:30, haying the rest of the day if the weather allows and nothing else is more pressing, afternoon milking, and then call it a day around 6:00. That is unless there is still some daylight and more hay to mow. If it sounds tedious, it isn’t. There are new challenges every day if not every hour, and Paul often has to leave the farm on other business.
Paul is a member of the Board of Yankee Farm Credit, and he spends a lot of time explaining the difficulties dairy farmers face due to current low milk prices. He is part of the coop that is instrumental in keeping credit open for qualified farmers throughout Vermont. Paul is also a member of the Vermont Milk Commission, and if that weren’t enough, he is a Justice of the Peace for Barnard as well. If you want a down home wedding ceremony, Paul’s your guy. Oh, and he is also the Town Moderator for Barnard town meetings.
But above all else, Paul is a farmer. He knows the ups and downs of dairy farming, and he keeps matters in perspective. He and Sherry raised their son and daughter on the farm, and it’s just the way things are. They love the life. Nothing more and nothing less. And if Paul has to leave for a day or two, as he often does for his many outside duties, he has friends and family in the community that are willing to lend a hand. It was ever thus in farming communities throughout New England, and that’s just one more reason Paul is so content with life as a dairy farmer. And, by the way, Paul has also been a member of Agri-Mark’s Board of Directors since the mid 1990s. He is just a guy who can’t say “no” when asked to take on more responsibility.