Stewart and William Yeaton own Yeaton Dairy Farm in Epsom, New Hampshire, and they have about 240 tillable acres, 110 milkers, and 80 young stock. They lost about 48 of these acres in 2006 when the Suncook River, which runs through their land, reversed its course and flooded their property in a big way. The river left thousands of yards of silt on the land, and the Yeatons had to lease some nearby property to continue growing the crops they need.
Stewart and William's grandfather first purchased the farm, but they still farm some of the same land that their great grandfather farmed years ago. Now William's teenage daughter Shannon and son Samuel work and spend as much time there as possible.
The farm is located near a high traffic area, so they keep it in tip-top shape at all times. The family grows 115 acres of corn, 60 of alfalfa, and 50 of hay. As partners, Stewart and William do it all with just a bit of part time help. And even though the days are long and the chores never end, Stewart has no regrets. He says, "I love working for myself and controlling my own destiny, except, of course, for milk prices. I get to work with my family, the commute is great, and I'm outdoors all the time. It's a good deal."
The Yeatons have long been active in the community. As a member of the Epson Fire Department for 32 years, and chief of the department for a good number of those, Stewart is always ready to answer the call. He has completed extensive firefighting and emergency medical training for the town, and manages four full-time employees and 22 volunteers in the department. And that's in addition to all his responsibilities on the farm. William sat on the school board for many years, handling issues of every kind.
The family hosts classes of schoolchildren from kindergarten on up on a regular basis, and they often have high school students and passers-by visit in the evening to observe milking. In addition, students from the University of New Hampshire are often there to observe milking and learn about feed ratios and proper nutrition for cattle. Says Stewart: "We enjoy this, and it's always a good thing to show people where their food is coming from."
Check out Yeaton Farm and an interview with Stewart & William, courtesy of Granite State Dairy Promotion: