Brothers Chris and Todd Hannan are first-generation dairy farmers, but “it wasn’t like we were city kids,” Chris says with a chuckle. The pair grew up with one other brother in a family that raised sheep and beef cattle and their dad did crop work for a hobby. There was farming further back in the family tree, Chris adds, with dairy and vegetable operations. Both worked for other farms milking and Chris had a “farmsitting” business, where he would take care of local farms when the owners took a break.
The brothers chose to study animal science and other aspects of agriculture in college and were working in associated fields, but they didn’t make the leap to having their own dairy herd until 2009. It was not a good year for milk prices; “People were like, ‘What are you thinking?!’” Chris recalls. But the pair had built up a small herd of prized registered Holsteins – “project cows that we had collected,” as Chris describes them – that were spread out among several other farms across two states. “It was getting kinda chaotic,” he admits. “We decided we’d better get serious about it.”