I grew up on a dairy farm in Central Pennsylvania. My father invested in the Ayrshire breed, and today my sister, Gay, has an Ayrshire farm where she milks 25 head to sell milk and make cheese and other specialty products. She also runs Hameau Farms Camp, a summer camp for girls ages 9-13 who want to experience living and working on a dairy farm as part of their summer vacation.
This led to my experience last weekend to attend an Ayrshire Cow sale in Newbury, Vermont. Linwood Huntington has been a fellow Ayrshire breeder and friend of my parents for years. After 29 years, decided to sell his cattle at a private auction this past Saturday.. In studying the history of all the animals, my dad determined that my sister could benefit from having one of Linwood’s animals in her herd.
This led to me driving my 80-year-old parents eight hours to Newbury, Vermont. We had a great time as I introduced them to GPS as they rolled out their maps from AAA. What fun! We also outbid the competition and purchased the bred heifer (female cow with her first calf) of our choice.
My lasting impression of the weekend was in observing the goodness of people in the Ayrshire business. Some 200 buyers from the US and Canada were on hand plus numerous online bidders. They came not only to build their businesses and to show respect to Linwood Huntington and his family, but to connect and share ideas to advance the profession of farming. I listened in on conversations on animal care, feeding options, grazing techniques, embryo transplants, and even robotic milkers. It was mind-blowing. Each of these farmers could teach captains of industry the value of innovation and disruptive thinking. What I found most impressive, however, was the underlying culture of helpfulness towards one other and the sense of “we’ve got your back.” I observed it and the Huntington family experienced it first hand. Our family is now honored to keep Linwood Huntington’s family legacy alive and well with our purchase of one of their CR Farm bred heifers. As Dale Carnegie would say, “Create happiness for others.”