From the top of the hills on his family's 180-acre dairy farm in Southbury, Connecticut, Ben Platt looks on the river of cars on Interstate 84, many of them heading south to New York City. He knows it's there, and he's glad he is not among them. "We live close enough to the city that a lot of people commute for work. I sure am glad I'm here and not there."
But there was never much risk of that. The Platt Farm has been in the same family for over two centuries. Ben was raised on the farm and, though still a young man, he already has nearly two decades of farm experience under his belt. "All I've ever done was work on the farm. It's all I've ever wanted to do."
Ben credits his hands-on experience for giving him the know-how and work ethic to take on responsibility for the farm before he even turned 30. "I went through the Vo-Ag program in high school, and what I learned there was great in theory, and if you have unlimited dollars.It's the on-farm experience, however, that's really essential to making a farm work."
In Ben's case, that means presiding over 60 Holstein milkers with a Jersey or two thrown in for good measure. And it means keeping the infrastructure in good repair, a chore Ben surprisingly enjoys. "I like working on machinery and keeping the farm tidy." And it shows. The Platt Farm enjoys Dairy of Distinction status, recognition awarded to farms that promote a good dairy industry image. Actually, there's not much about farming that Ben Platt doesn't like. Asked to name his favorite chore, he struggles. "I like milking. I like haying. I like being outside. I guess I enjoy it all." And now he's enjoying one more thing: showing his first child around the same farm he grew up on.