Move over Duck Dynasty. Last night, reality TV met a new set of Robertson brothers. We’re not sure who has the bigger beards or sense of humor – but we’re about to find out.
The brothers and their family star in the new series the American Farm which premiered on HISTORY on April 4 at 10 p.m. ET. If you miss it, you can watch it each week on the HISTORY website.
We watched the first episode with the family and over 100 people at the University of New Hampshire – the brothers are the 5th generation of dairy farmers in their family and the 4th generation to graduate from UNH.
There were lots of laughs during the first episode – especially when Nate and Si had to work together to move some cows into a pasture (and the cows had other plans). There were tense moments too as their Dad, Jamie, considers how the farm will survive in a financially difficult time for the dairy industry.
The three Robertson brothers found their passion for farming early in life. They all had the same major at UNH (Integrated Agricultural Management), lived in the same apartment, and even had some of the same roommates.
Here’s a few fun facts about the Robertson brothers, their parents Jamie and Heather, their cousin Meagan, and the Bohanan Farm where they all have their own area of expertise, or as they call it their “dojo” (dojo: a school for training in various arts of self-defense). We’d say the Robertson’s are highly trained in the school of dairy farming.
- History on the farm: Si is the eldest brother and a partner on the farm.
- Dojo: Si is the soil expert, heifer wrangler (cow teenagers), and culinary expert for the cow feed. With over 400 acres of land to manage, Si makes sure that the crops are healthy to make the best salad for the cows to eat (otherwise known as Total Mixed Ration or TMR) made up of grasses, vitamins, minerals and byproducts or recycled leftovers from the human food industry. Si also takes regular soil samples to be sure that only the manure, or natural fertilizer, that can be absorbed by the soil is applied to the land, and this keeps the nearby Contoocook River clean.
- Talents: Si is a human calculator, and is even quicker when it comes to corralling cows that certain family members accidentally let loose.
- History on the farm: Nate is the middle brother.
- Dojo: Nate is the cow whisperer, primary medical professional for the cows including their OB. Nate’s mantra is: healthy cows make healthy milk. He also does the cow breeding on the farm – cows have a baby about every two years which allows them to give milk. Nate has cow Fitbit-like devices that he puts on the cows, and when they start taking more steps – it often means they are ready for artificial insemination (AI). AI is used because it can be dangerous to keep a bull around, and like with humans, it can be timed to increase chances of pregnancy. Nate also keeps track of each individual cow’s milk production. When cows are comfortable, well fed and healthy they make the most high-quality milk.
- Talents: sarcasm, bad puns, and inability to understand puns.
- History on the farm: Bram is the youngest brother.
- Dojo: Bram graduated from UNH last May, and returned home to the farm to learn the ropes of the creamery and milk route delivery from his Dad. The family oversees the distribution of 2,000 gallons of milk per day that is made into fun flavors of cheese and bottled milk. The farm’s dairy products feed the New Hampshire community and beyond. Milk is packaged in their processing facility in traditional glass milk bottles that people love for their old charm and sustainability.
- Talents: Boxing with Nate – and pinning him every time (Nate disagrees).
- History on the farm: Heather is the 4th generation that grew up on the Bohanan Farm. The Bohanan name comes from the farm being passed down through Heather’s family.
- Dojo: Heather is a partner on the farm with her husband Jamie and her eldest son, Si. She is also the calf daycare manager and accounting whiz. The calves are the future of the farm because they grow up to become the cows that make milk, and their health is a big priority. The calves live in groups together by age and have access to milk from a bottle 24 hours a day. Just like human babies, when they are first born, they like to get milk drunk but then learn to eat only until they are full and content. Heather is also great with cow names – and is the cow genealogist. She can list out cow families on the farm from before she was born from memory!
- Talents: Heather can find anything that her sons lose (which is everything). Raising three boys she also learned how to be a winemaker.
- History on the farm: Jamie’s dad worked at the Bohanan Farm beginning in 1959, and Jamie’s parents were good friends with the Bohanan family. Jamie started working on the farm in 1988, and in the same year Heather agreed to go out on a date with him – three years later they were married and looking forward to a life together on the farm, where they could raise their own family.
- Dojo: Jamie oversees the overall management of the farm with his wife Heather – AKA he is the professional herder of the cats, or should we say cows? He keeps the farm organized and makes sure that everyone is on the same page with the plans for the next day and for the next 5 years. Jamie gets to the farm at about 4:30 am each morning to clean the barns and bring cows in the parlor to be milked.
- Talents: makes the best pizza and lets the most cows loose accidentally.
- History on the farm: Meagan started working for the farm in 2015 while she was finishing her business degree at Plymouth State College. Jamie asked Meagan to help with the farm social media – she only planned to help for a semester but as she was looking for a job after college, she realized the farm was where her heart wanted to be.
- Dojo: Meagan manages the sales and marketing. Contoocook Creamery milk and cheeses are available at over 50 locations in New Hampshire and Meagan has her eye on the next 50. Meagan says Contoocook Creamery is popular because their products are backed up by a perfect combination of what people today are looking for in their food: local, a great story, natural and healthy, and good for the planet too.
- Talents: sarcasm, avoiding the camera, and she can’t remember where her car keys are but she can remember the lyrics to every song on the radio!