From her barnyard at the end of a gravel road in Brookfield, Vermont, surrounded by the 150-acres she farms with her husband Wes and nine year-old son, Jarrett, Brenda Snow surveys the mountains of Killington and Camel’s Hump. As much as she appreciates the scenery and the quiet of the farm, she knows that her livelihood rides on the broad, tawny-backed Jerseys lolling in the barn. “I always say that Jerseys are more than cows, they’re quality of life,” says Brenda, whose fondness for the breed is obvious. She also works as a field rep for the US Jersey Association. “They’re easy to work with, efficient with feed, and they don’t have many foot problems." These are the sort of things that make a big difference in a farmer’s life.
The funny thing is Wes Snow never really thought he’d be a farmer; he moved to Vermont from the North Shore of Massachusetts in ’66 and was doing carpentry to make ends meet. “I hit it off with the electrician on a house I was working on. Turns out, he owned this farm and was getting on in years. Next thing I knew, they offered me the farm and held the note. Otherwise, I’d still be doing something else.”
Now, it’s time for Wes and Brenda to do the same for another new farmer. “I’ve got a young person who’s set to buy the herd this July,” says Wes. “I’m going to do the same for him.” But Wes, Brenda, and Jarrett won’t be going anywhere. They’ll put up feed, raise a few heifers, manage the farm’s woodlot, and spend a little more time enjoying the views.
And if they start missing the girls, Wes knows just what to do. “They’re going to be right out in the barn, so I can go play with ‘em anytime I want. Just as long as I don’t have to get up at 4:30 to milk them anymore.”