John and Beth Haynes have owned Haynes’ Dairy since 1991 when they purchased their 130 acre spread from John’s parents. They also rent additional acreage for their Holsteins where they pasture their cattle. The Haynes’ parents and their parents before them were farmers, and it’s just bred in the bone. Up before dawn and working until after sunset, one day after the other no matter the circumstances. What keeps them at it?
John and Beth, like so many other dairy farmers, say it’s the life. They could have chosen another path, but they’re glad they didn’t, and they don’t plan to change. They are part of the land and the landscape. They both work the farm and no matter the challenge, they find joy in it every day.
The Hayneses work constantly to upgrade their family business and after an arduous five year process, they were recently designated as an “organic farm” by the state of New Hampshire. This is more than a label, it’s a lot of work. Among other things, John and Beth had to prove that their land was pesticide and herbicide free for the prior three years, and their cattle had to be antibiotic free. They also pasture their herd. No corn feed for this group. Becoming organic was a big commitment on top of their other daily chores, but once they charted their course, they never looked back.
While farming is a great joy, teaching newcomers about farming, giving tours of their operation, and letting others see and feel their enthusiasm is a big part of John and Beth’s life as well. They regularly have groups visit from the local schools and colleges, or they just meet casually on their farm with people who want to buy a few head of cattle and build something on their own. “Nobody should do this without knowing what they’re getting into,” said John, “and while it’s worth every minute of it, it’s not for the faint hearted.”