Charlie and his family run Tully Farm in Dunstable, Massachusetts. They have 350 acres, 125 milkers and about 125 head of young stock. Charlie's great grandfather was born on their family farm in 1873, and he and his parents were raised there. Dairy farming is simply in their blood. For the Tullys, there's no such thing as retirement. Charlie's grandfather George is in his 90s and still works in the barn every day.
The family recently celebrated a delightful Christmas. Charlie had learned that the tractor his grandfather used decades ago was available for sale in a nearby town. It was originally manufactured in 1939, and the Tullys decided it would be great to purchase the tractor, rebuild it inside and out, and give it to George as a Christmas present. The entire clan and many friends were gathered in the Tullys' home when Charlie and other family members left, only to return a few minutes later proudly driving the very 1939 tractor that had done so much work for the family for so many years. Grandfather George didn't even need to see the tractor to know what it was. He recognized the sound of the old beauty right away and told everybody on the spot what it was. That was a Christmas to remember.
Like so many farm families, the Tullys operate a second business on the side. They have logged a portion of their untillable land during the winter for decades, and they then haul the lumber off to distant sawmills. This helps blunt the bite of an uncooperative milk market and provides a secondary revenue stream for the family.
The Tullys love to share their farm and give people a taste of what dairy farming is all about. They make their farm available to high school students, veterinary students, elementary school classes, and passers-by who just want to take a look around. In addition, Charlie has served on the Grange and the Middlesex County Farm Bureau. His grandfather was also a charter member of the Dunstable Rural Land Trust. "This is just part of life as a dairy farmer," says Charlie, "a part we take seriously."