Dairy farming requires physical strength, dedication, and endurance. So, in some ways, it is not surprising that brothers Neil and Bill Peck, partners and owner-operators of Welcome Stock Farm in Schuylerville, New York, both met and fell in love with Olympic athletes. Right from the start, the farmers and their future brides had a lot in common.
Neil's wife, Kristen Talbot-Peck, was born and raised just four miles from Welcome Stock farm. She and Neil met and fell in love right at home in Saratoga County. Thanks to dedicated training, persistence, and raw talent, Kristen ascended the ranks of competitive speed skating in the late 1980's, earning the opportunity to compete in the 1988, 1992, and 1994 Olympic Games. While competing, she met and befriended many other Olympians, including world-famous Bonnie Blair, and an up-and-coming star named Amy Peterson, a Minnesota native.
Amy would become a five-time Olympic speed skating team member, three time medalist, and flag bearer for the opening ceremonies for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games. Amy and Kristen kept-up their friendship in between events, and visited each other's home states. During a visit to Schuylerville, Kristen introduced her friend Amy to her brother-in-law, Bill, and the rest, as they say, is history.Today, Amy and Bill are married and have four young sons: Hansen, Hudson, Hayden, and Henry. Their boys are the seventh generation of Pecks to make a life at Welcome Stock Farm. Kristen and Neil also live on the farm. The two couples are now officially family, friends, neighbors, and business partners.
Welcome Stock Farm has been owned by the Peck Family since 1836. The farm is located just ten miles away from the historic Saratoga race track. Neil and Bill's father, William Peck, works with his sons on the farm. Although he has transferred ownership of the business to them, he continues to help oversee the operation.
The Pecks milk about 650 cows, and have plans to grow the size of their herd in the future. They ship all their milk to Agrimark. The family also operates a world-renowned genetics programs. Buyers from China, Japan, Germany, France, Holland, and across the North America count on the Peck's breeding stock to produce highly productive, champion-quality genetics. Young cows, bulls, and embryos from Welcome Stock are favored among cattle breeders for their award-winning pedigrees. Since he began working with cow genetics in the 1950's, William Peck has been a consistent leader in the industry. He has received the National Dairy Shrine Distinguished Cattle Breeder Award at the World Dairy Expo and has served as the Chairman of Holstein USA Genetic Advancement Committee.
In addition to their busy lives on the farm, the Peck family is actively involved in their community. Amy continues to serve as role model in the skating world, helping to mentor, coach, and raise money for aspiring young athletes. Bill Peck, a licensed attorney, is also the Northcumberland Town Supervisor.
Amidst all their varied interests and responsibilities, the Peck family still makes time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life on the farm. "We all love to just be outdoors, to enjoy the beauty of this old farm," says Neil, who can sometimes be found taking a break from field work to enjoy the sight of a red tail hawk, sweeping across the sky, or a mother deer, tending to her fawns. "Every time we leave this place, we are happy to come back home. We appreciate all that we've got."
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