Each year the van of judges travels around the state of Connecticut, touring outstanding dairy farms recommended for the Green Pastures Program’s “Dairy Farm of the Year”. The judges are past winners of this award, sponsored by UConn Extension, as well as members of the dairy industry. The day long excursion this year finished at the Enfield dairy farm, Trinity Farm, on Oliver Road. And finally the decision was made over a bowl of UConn ice cream in Storrs. The judges picked Trinity Farm, which has progressed over the years as a farm that markets 100% of the milk directly to consumers, either by home delivery, the retail store on the farm or Farmers Markets at Ellington, New Haven, and Springfield, MA.
The three layers of management: herdsmanship, dairy processing, and product marketing result in long hours and the need for multiple areas of expertise. Anne and her husband, Jeremy, manage the herd production and breeding between Jeremy’s off-farm employment and the needs of a young, growing family. Fluid milk, butter, yogurt, kefir, and cheese are processed at the farm plant built in 1995 which their father, Mike Smyth, manages. Their mom, Dale Smyth, is responsible for the Farmers Markets. Anne’s brother, Sam, manages the wholesale and retail accounts.
A recently built bedded pack barn is providing comfort for the herd between time on the pasture and time for milking in the older 1984 barn. The pack barn was built with assistance by a USDA contract to keep the exercise area covered as a win-win for the environment and the animals. Sam is the hay grower, harvesting seventy acres of hay to supplement the purchased corn silage. Anne and Sam have help from local young people, in the care and milking of the herd.
It was a wonderful end of a day of learning for the judges. Trinity Farm offered flavored milk before we were herded back into the College van. We left with a good feeling about Connecticut’s future for agriculture, with farm families like the Smyths’ leading the way.