Father’s Day is this Sunday and many of our New England Dairy Farmers are also hard-working fathers! We asked a few of our local dairy farm families some of the best life lessons they’ve learned, from the wisest man they know.
The Freund Family East Cannan, CT:
Matt Freund and his brother Ben run Freund’s Farm. Matt and his wife Theresa have four children: Emily, Isaac, Rachel and Amanda.
Emily: With dad being the ‘mechanic’ guy on the farm, it was like a rite of passage that when each of his kids came of age, they got a lesson in the shop on how to change their oil and how to change a tire. He also made the obligatory field trip to visit the ‘auto shop proprietor’ so we knew who to go to when our cars required attention beyond a tire change!
Isaac: I’ve taken over a lot of the crop and mechanics responsibilities from my dad so he can focus on other farm work. He is the one who taught me how to operate each of the pieces of equipment on our farm and the basic mechanical skills which I then pursued into college and received a BS in diesel mechanics from SUNY Cobleskill.
Rachel: In our free time, weekends and after work, we like to go on walks through our pastures and forests. My dad has always made a point of identifying all the tree species we pass on our walk, with a special fondness for chestnut and butternut trees! He’s taken advantage of conservation projects that has allowed our farm to reintroduce Chestnut trees onto our riverbanks to reduce erosion and reintroduce native species onto our property.
Amanda: My dad taught me to never leave for tomorrow what can be done today. I am often reminded of this sentiment when we’re in the midst of harvesting haylage and silage. Our days are especially long when we’re harvesting, and when the sun is setting and you want to call it quits, I’m always reminded to make sure the fuel tanks are full and the equipment is ready to roll for the next morning.
A quote that I just saw online that resonates with me: “My father didn’t teach me how to live; he lived and let me watch him do it.” – Clarence Budington Kelland.
The most important life skills that came from growing up with my dad are humor, integrity and selflessness. He’s the kind of guy that if he’s splitting the last piece of pie with you, he’ll always give you the bigger piece.
The Barstow Family Hadley, MA:
Barstow’s Longview Farm has been a working dairy farm since the early 1800s and is presently run by sixth generation brothers, Steven and David alongside Steven’s son and seventh generation, Steven Barstow II.
Farmers are rooted in the land they’ve cultivated for years and to their family ties that go back generations. They also have an eye on the future, whether it’s trying out new technology, or helping their employees further their own careers. Steven Barstow II said it well!
Steven II: My father taught me to always know where my feet are, and to always know what my next step is.