June 30th, 2018
SAVING AMERICA’S SMALL FAMILY FARMS
An Open Discussion
Meet the Author
Purpose of this Blog
Status of America’s Family Farm
How to weather the storm
Local bottling and sales
What do you suggest?
Meet the Author
Laura Burnside considers herself a lifelong animal lover and caretaker. She graduated SUNY Morrisville with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Equine Husbandry. Straight from college she went on to help manage the New York campus of Southwind Farms, a world class Standardbred operation. The New York operation was generally the nursery where the weanlings were grown out to become saleable yearlings.
In addition to the horses Laura was able to develop and maintain a nationally recognized Jacob Sheep flock. Laura first purchased Jacob Sheep in 1989 as part of the Southwind Farms operation. Following the passing of her employers in 2013 Laura has maintained the flock as the Butternut flock to the present day.
In the 1990’s Laura and Southwind Farms ran a purebred Polled Hereford operation of 120 cows. The beef was certified organic under NOFA and the cows were successfully shown though out the country. Beef had been kept on the farm from the early 80’s until its demise following the passing of the owners. On the current farm a small herd of Aberdeen Angus are kept as well as other ‘miniature’ and exotic bovines.
In 1998 Laura and Southwind were part of the importation of the first Golden Guernsey Goats to the US. In addition to the GGG Southwind had always had various goats mainly boers and fainting goats.
In 2008 with the downturn in the economy the decision was made to leave the horses on the NJ campus and the New York Farm dove into diversification. We will get into that in a later chapter.
Laura began working at Southwind in 1981 and met her husband, Kevin, a fellow employee there. They were married in 1985. Two sons joined them in 1994 and 1996 and were blessed to grow up and graduate high school before the loss of the farm owners.
Southwind Farms had been owned by Allen and Connie Skolnick. They were both highly admirable people, whose loss is still painful. They believed in loyalty, fairness, and ran all of their businesses from that basis. The world could use a lot more people like them.
Today Laura and Kevin are caretaking a farm for another couple. There are Jacob Sheep, pigs, cattle, goats, horses, donkeys and poultry as well as a few surprises on the current farm.
The Purpose of This Blog
In the past month four dairy farms have dispersed their cows within 10 miles of where I live. To begin with, I have never worked on a dairy farm. But I have nothing but respect for the people who devote their lives to that life. How can we save the American Family Farm? There is no one answer. There is not a one size fits all solution. I picture this blog as a round table, a sounding board of ideas. Please comment and share your ideas and thoughts.
America could easily feed herself with more to share if agriculture were supported at all levels. However, it appears the larger ‘corporate farms’ send to get the help will the little guys are squeezed to death. Many of the smaller dairy farms in my area are being told that the milk companies cannot be bothered picking up their milk. The big farms are being told not to bother to expand. The news says that there is an excess of both milk and cheese on the market. How do we help America’s farmers get past this impasse.
The first few ideas will be mine, until we start to get feedback from those who might read this and share my concerns.
I am a daughter of God. I am a wife and a mother. I am an animal lover. I have devoted my life to the care and well being of animals. Each one has taught me valuable lessons. Each loss tore a piece from my heart. You are welcome to share some of my experiences here on this page.