Like his father before him, and his father before him, Jeff Cone is tied to the land. He is the fourth generation of farmers in the Cone family, and Jeff hopes it will move to the fifth somewhere down the line. This seems likely since Jeff and his wife Alexis have three young boys, Jacob, Nathan, and Isaac, and newest addition, Rachel. Between managing a herd of cattle and a brood of children, the days are full for Jeff and Alexis.
Jeff loves dairy farming and living a farmer's life. He was raised on a dairy farm and enjoyed every minute of it. He wants to give that same gift to his children. And while there is nothing easy about dairy farming, it has its compensations.
Even though Jeff Is up at 4:00 for the morning milking and doesn't finish usually until after 7:00 in the evening, there are breaks in between. He gets to bring his oldest son to school or make a family outing out of running to the hardware store with Jacob, Nathan, and Isaac in tow. Says Jeff: "Working on the farm and introducing the boys to the land and the animals and working side by side with Alexis is a joy every day. No matter the challenges, I feel the rewards all the time." And what are the challenges? Says Jeff: "You have to keep very tight control of your expenses. This was a good summer to pasture the cows so we could save on grain. I am constantly working on equipment to get a full life span out of everything, and we have no labor costs. We do everything ourselves. When I need help, I can get other family members to pitch in."
Tough times in the dairy industry won't dampen the Cones' spirits. They understand the fluctuations of the market and take them in stride. This is the life they want, and they bring the passion, work ethic, and common sense to make it work.
Watch the Cone Family's interview with NECN's Billy Costa: