What is a farm?

Note from Ellen (November 2010):

When I wrote this entry back in June, I did so after a walk around my “neighborhood” that surprised me with the variety of farms located in such a compact geography. I brought to this entry my own perspective on farming–sadly, that hurt some of my neighbors feelings. For this I am truly sorry, particularly because, as you can read in their comments below, they feel passion for the work they’re doing and love for the animals who sustain their family. I have invited members of the Corscadden family to write a new entry for this blog. I hope they take me up on it. I have also edited out of this entry some of the comments that contained inaccuracies or bias. I apologize, again, for any hurt I caused my neighbors.

There’s no single answer to this question. A hundred years ago, the answer might simply have been a place where food is grown. Today, how do we categorize, say, the biofuel operation in the midwest? Is that a farm? What about  a wind “farm”?

But that’s splitting hairs. Here in the north country, we all know what happens–and how it happens–on a farm. Or do we?

I take long walks around my neck of the woods near Old DeKalb. A couple of days ago, I realized that within a couple of miles of my farm, there are examples of most of the different types of farms found on our contemporary landscape.

There’s the Corscadden farm, a large dairy (more than 500, less than a 1000 milking).

Barns at the Corscadden farm

Corscadden tractor (nice tractor!)

When I moved to my farm in 1971, there were a dozen dairy farms in the two or three mile radius around me, most of them milking 40-80 cows. There are still the same number of cows in my neighborhood, it’s just that most of them live at the Corscadden’s. Something under 100 are still being milked at the farm just down the road from Ken Corscadden, at Gil and Claire Peck’s farm. Gil grew up on the farm and his parents still live in the house next door to him.

The Peck family farm (note cows on pasture)

The Peck farm borders my farm to the east. My western boundary is the Thompson-Berk farm. In recent years, there’s been a mini-boom in the emergence of “alternative” or “niche” or “CSA” (community supported agriculture) farms. Gary and Bryan’s farm falls into this category. They raise sheep, turkeys, maple syrup, eggs and enough extra hay to sell.

The "diversified crop" Thompson-Berk farm is off the grid.

Gary and Bryan's barn, which they built (I remember the barn-raising)

Among my more recent farm friends are the Amish families who have moved to our road, building houses and barns in a blink. No kidding. Following fairly standard designs and working with family and friends who have built many of these structures, one day nothing, the next day a barn or a house. The four families on our road are all related to each other–three siblings and their parents each have their own houses. At each place, there’s small farm activity–all kinds of gardening for home and for sale at their vegetable stand, eggs, a few dairy cows, some sheep, turkeys. There’s also usually another commercial activity–like woodworking or carpentry, quilt-making and jam production. As you know, the Amish do not like to have photos taken, but have no problem having pictures taken of their homes. (Abe and Lizzie Stutzman were thrilled to receive an aerial photo we took of their farm.)

Patriach Levi Shetler's house on the left; son Mose's house on the right.

And a quarter of a mile up the road:

Sam and Delilah Shetler's on the left; Lizzie (Shetler) and Abe Stutzman on the right.

The Amish and the Corscaddens are at opposite ends of the farming spectrum. But, they are all working farms.  I’m told the Corscaddens have helped out their Amish neighbors from time to time. For anyone who lives in a farming community, this is at the heart of what keeps it going–having other farmers nearby. You can’t really exist in a vacuum. Yes, farming has a “lone operator” side to it, but it sure makes it difference if there are others in your neighborhood who understand–and can lend a hand when needed–what you’re doing.

I can’t end this “postcard” from the farms without a tip of the hat to what was the “typical” farm when I first moved here. Just past the Peck place, a family farm that once milked 40 cows. Now, a few heifers are raised each summer, and the barn is, sadly, in disrepair.

A former dairy, now home to a few heifers.

On a related topic, check out David Sommerstein’s blog entry on raw milk at The In Box and his report on the “raw milk” wars on today’s 8 O’clock Hour.

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31 Comments on “What is a farm?”

  1. Kylie Corscadden says:

    Was reading up on this article, just thought you may want to know that I am the one who keeps the cattle records on Corscadden Family Farm, and I can guarantee that we have numerous cows in which have been here for ten years. Also, you forgot to take pictures of the cattle pasturizing right across the road from my home. (is there a place to post my pictures?!?) The neighbor farm, Pecks, have maybe 50 cows? And we milk 650, not 800. Perhaps you should get all of your facts and numbers right before you post untrue stories on your radio station. Sincerely, Kylie Corscadden.

  2. Kylie Corscadden says:

    Also…you will notice as you are taking you miles-long walk all winter, that we do not pasture any cattle….we have the tendency to make sure our cattle are kept warm and dry for the long winter months :)

  3. Kylie Corscadden says:

    And the more I look into this, the picture that states “Barns at the Corscadden Farm”, clearly has cows outside, fenced it. You REALLY need to look into the pictures/false statements you post on your radio’s website! LOL!!!!

  4. Kerry St.Onge says:

    Wow. Felt so outraged when I read this article. But then asked myself how would my father Ken Corscadden want me to respond, from my heart and only the truth. The Corscadden Family Farm hasnt always been what you see now. It too, was once just a small farm. Dad moved here from RI not knowing a single person. It’s his passion for the animals that makes him the best in the business. As a little girls, he taught us all that these were God’s animals and that it was our job to give them unconditional love. I can remember riding in a tractor with Dad when I was a kid and asking him if he thought it was boring, he replied with “Absolutely not, I look around and see everything God has given me, this is His land and he’s counting on me to take care of it. You have painted this picture of my father being someone who wishes for farms to be abandoned. Not true. Cant count how many times we’d drive by an old forgotten farm and he would always make a point to show us girls how sad it was. He doesnt do this for money as none of us do, or for that fact, no farmer in the industry. It is not his fault that milk prices are what they are, and when he does buy a herd of cows they get off that truck to a welcome party. Countless times we all call each other and meet the truck, with excitement for the new addition to our family. Knowing they are in good hands at the Corscaddens. Also, there are countless fellow farmers that would tell you that when they were at rock bottom and needed a helping hand it was Kenny Corscadden that lifted them up when they were down. As far as his finances, he’s a 62 yr old man, I quite doubt he’s found a way to get bankers to fund his life for free. If so, guess he’s smarter than the rest of us. This article just broke my heart, people can say such hurtful things. Dont take away from my father what he has worked his entire life for. At 62, he still will be the last man standing at the end of the day. As his children, we are also the best in the business. I myself, am a manager at a farm milking 2200 cows. What makes me different than the other employers. Well as my boss says, I look at cows as individuals. My dad taught me that. You do have the freedom of speech, which by the way Kenny Corscadden served his time in Vietnam to make sure you have that too. As veterans day rolls around, stop in and thank him for letting you slander him.

  5. Kaitlin Corscadden says:

    I am Kenny Corscaddens daughter and have lived on the farm my whole entire life. The information on this website is all very untrue. We have pastures all over the farm that our cows spend their time in. Behind our barns, in front of our barns, beside our barns, and DIRECTLY across the road from where these pictures are taken. Had the person taking the pictures literally turned their body around and pushed the button they would have captured a picture of beautiful cows IN THE PASTURE. Just wondering if it is illegal to “quote” something from my father that I know he did not say for a fact. Our farm equipment and cattle is NOT owned by the bank. My parents have worked very hard for what they have now, and it shows. We actually have a very successful farm. I am thinking maybe my Dad should look into this false information and do something about it. To the writer: Not sure where you got your information but I have seen you walk by our farm multiple times. You must be aware of the cows in the pastures because you HAVE to walk right by them. Not sure why you would lie on your website.

  6. Katie Smith says:

    WOW!!! I feel it is absolutely crazy that we are knocking down very successful farms in our own communitites. I have spent my entire life enjoying my parents farm, Corscadden Family Farms, as my children do to this day. I also grew up with Gilbert and Claire Peck as our neighbors and have seen their success as well. Both farms run very different but all going towards the same goal, making quality milk to produce dairy products for all generations to enjoy.
    As far as the comment that the farm is owned by the bank. I have yet noticed a banker that was on our farm until all hours of the night, making sure the crops were in, taking care of a cow that needs a little help having her calf, or stressing the changing milk prices. When I was a child, many days my dad was in the field before I got up and still there when I went to bed at night. Both him and my mom have worked for every thing they have to show. The bank does not continue to give credit to unworthy clients! Not only are they very prosperous business partners they have also EARNED the respect of their community members. They are willing to help those in need, as a matter of fact I remember the day of Ellen Roccos barn fire and my dad being one of the first people on the scene. Along with two of his employees willing to do whatever they could to make sure everyone was safe, including all of her animals. Sounds like someone to me that is more then caring towards people and animals alike! Thank God for him that day having a farm close by! So soon we forget!
    I will close by saying my entire life we have loved that farm and all of our pets. It is the best place for my kids to be and they would be there with the animals every single day if they could. I for one have a 18 month old calf that is buried on our front lawn and 2 goats. Is that because we do not care about our animals? I have cried many times over having to finally let go of an animal that has been on the farm for 8-10 years. If any farm gives an animal the best home possible it is that of Ken and Laurie Corscadden. Some farms operate by cheaper prices and ways to save the biggest buck, my dad has always run by what is best for the animal.
    Corscadden Farm has been operating for almost 40 years and not only because I am family but also because I have seen them grow and I can say I KNOW they give them animals their entire heart. I can go on about how every single cow will spend time outside each lactation, but that does not matter as anyone can clearly drive by the farm and see the cows grazing. Please take a walk through our barns anyday. Please make sure to notice the 2 big yellow brushes hanging in each group. Those would be back scratchers. Notice the happy cows gathered around waiting to have their turn at comfort. Sounds like a luxury to me! I love the compassionate person Corscadden Family Farms has made me and I am so blessed to be able to share this farm life with my children. Thanks for your time!

  7. Kerry St.Onge says:

    Sorry had to add one more post. This article was brought to our attention by a 10 yr old little boy. You see, about a year ago his father wanted to get into the farming business and Ken Corscadden helped him. So this little boy has great respect and appreciation for my parents. This ten year old little boy called himself to let our family know about this. So while, there is so much negativity on your behalf, there’s a little boy that was inspired. There is an honor code amongst farmers and as you call yourself a farmer, you should be ashamed. A 10 year old little boy has already learned a lesson that you havent. I’m also surprised you are a reporter. Not one quote. Just your own personnal opinion, and you now have portrayed yourself as a very uneducated, envious person. Would love to hear some feedback from the radio station on how this is factual reporting.

  8. Tammy Scott Mixon says:

    All I will say is that I spent many days on the Corscadden farm growing up as a child and all of what you speak is untruths. I would love nothing more than for my children to experience the Corscadden farm the way I was priviledged to and all that goes with it…. Love of family, love of the animals (those animals have better lives than most people!), and learning how to work HARD AND HONEST for everything you have. This article is terribly disappointing and saddening. :( NOT COOL!

  9. admin says:

    Kerry St. Onge said:
    “I’m also surprised you are a reporter. Not one quote. Just your own personal opinion.”

    This blog post was not made by a reporter, as in a member of the NCPR news department. I was written by our NCPR station manager and is a commentary, an expression of personal opinion, or–as she describes it–a postcard. The All In blog is open to all NCPR staff, including web geeks like me–but this does not make me a newsman. Nothing posted in The All In blog should be taken as anything other than personal observations of the person writing.

    Dale Hobson
    NCPR Online

  10. Kerry St.Onge says:

    Thank you for responding! This has outraged so many people and think that the author should make a point to write a comment on how she did not know what she was writing. Everything that was written was lies. As a station manager, she should definitely care about honesty. Now that she stands corrected by the community, she should definitely feel overwhelmed to apologize for taking the time to try to hurt others. Very poor reflection of your organization. Next time I read an article on here I will know its just someone making up lies. Would love to see someone taking the time to find out the truth before they print it. Again, thank you. Dont mean to come across as attackful, but definitely felt attacked by this organization.

  11. Janet Bertrand Henderson says:

    Stunned! I hope the rest of the world’s “OBSERVATION” or “POSTCARD” descriptions of north country dairy farms are of the opposite ideas of this blinded writer. Don’t judge a person until you have walked in their shoes. I think Ellen needs to take a second look. LOL
    Growing up on the “Bertrand’s Family Farm” with sunup to sundown chores to do, I also know the blood, sweat & tears of this demanding family endeavor. When we could, a trip to “Uncle” Kenny’s farm was always fun. My sibblings and I would play with the Corscadden Girls as our parents chatted around the family kitchen table drinking coffee. Good people they are. Maybe Ellen needs to be more open minded.
    Corscadden Girls ROCK!

  12. Kylie Corscadden says:

    Administration…..

    You need a new station manager. Perhaps one whom can write a blog and back-up her lies without blurring out the evidence. I certainly hopes she reads all of this, and I CERTAINLY hope she has something to say back about it :) GET A LIFE.

  13. Courtney Holt says:

    Even though I am not a Corscadden I definitely feel angry. Growing up, and being best friends with Kaitlin Corscadden, I spent so much time with the family. I considered this family a part of me. All of the Corscaddens are amazing and so strong and work for everything they have. My life is filled with childhood memories of being at the Corscadden farm. My memories do not only consist of being with my best friend and her family but experiencing what her family does day in and day out. I remember spending nights with Kaitlin at the age of like 12 and going out and hanging out with her while she was milking the midnight shift. Or getting up early in the morning to go out and feed calves. I have witnessed their mother (Mrs. Corscadden) spending hours on just one calf to make sure it was going to survive. Or she would go out in the middle of the night to check up on the well being of her beloved calves. Kaitlin would get so upset when one of her calves became ill. Most calves had name tags and I remember learning them because Kaitlin would left side of the housetalk about them and keep me updated on their health. As for this woman saying the calves are never pastured.. uhm I’m pretty sure if you are heading towards the gore road there are cows on the right hand side of the road. Also I remember taking the club cart out back towards the river and we would have to hurry up and close the gate so that the cows would not get out. So I am almost positive this woman is crazy and has no idea what she is talking about. Maybe next time you should write a story about how Kenny & Laurie Corscadden are everything you are not. They have respect for others, and I could NEVER imagine them putting down other farmers! Learn some respect for others, and next time dont let jealousy get the best of you! :)

  14. Courtney Holt says:

    Now that I am re-evaluating the photographs, I am almost positive if she would have turned around there would have been cows standing right behind her. You know.. the pastured cows I was referring to! :)

  15. Tami French says:

    I am a friend of the Corscadden family and I also grew up on a farm “God’s Promise Farm.” As a farmer we support all of our fellow farmers, no matter if they are a big farm, little farm or even a hobby farm. You should be ashamed of yourself for saying the comments you made about the Corscadden farm. Yes, they do have a big operation, but it didn’t start out that way. Ken, Laurie and all the children have worked their butts off to get the farm to where it is today. They are very proud of their farm as they should be. I think you need to look inside yourself and see if maybe you are the one with a jealous heart and soul because to me that’s what it seems like. I agree with Kylie, GET A LIFE!!!!!

  16. Kaitlin Corscadden says:

    I am Kenny Corscadden’s daughter and have lived on the Corscadden Family Farm my whole life. When I first read this I felt many emotions. First, anger. Angry because of the lies put on this page for anyone to read. Blows my mind that this comes from a woman that walks by the farm so often and I know for a fact she sees the cows in the field. We have fields on the sides of our barns, behind, across the road, even down the road..all of which in nice weather, are filled with cows grazing. Had the photographer literally turned her body around from where she was standing while taking the picture added to this website, she would have captured a field full of beautiful heifers. Not sure why should would take her time writing an article full of lies. I then began to feel sad that there may be people out there that read this and do not know my parents or how the farm operates. The impression that this article gives is so far from the truth, leads people to believe something totally different. So for anyone that read the article and may have for a minute believed the words in it, I hope you have taken the time to read the comments and learn about the truth. And at the end of all of this, I feel thankful. Thankful to have grown up the way I did. Learning life lessons everyday on my fathers farm. Like many of these comments show, anyone that has had a chance to experience the farm knows the way the animals are cared for. If you take time to talk to my father about the farm I am almost possitive you will hear what I have heard my whole life. ” If you give to the cows, the cows will give to you.” Something I have not only heard from my father but something I was able to see for myself. The farm is my parent’s passion..something they put their whole heart into everyday. They add things to our barns all the time just simply to make our cows more comfortable. My mother and I would often get done with feeding calves and go stand by the fence across the road and just watch the heifers graze in the field. And isnt it illegal to “quote something from Kenny Corscadden” then I know for a fact my Dad did not say? hmm maybe something to look into.

  17. Ellen Rocco says:

    Wait wait wait. Please. Kyle and Kerry, particularly. I apologize for errors in facts (how many cows you’re milking, how long you keep them for, etc). And, definitely, I apologize if my remarks sounded insulting or mean. This was not my point at all. Nor did I in any way mean to be hurtful. Truly, I am sorry.

    Not too long before I wrote this entry, I had run into your Dad while I was out walking and he made the remark about the bank. I have heard this from other farmers as well–the size of farms these days requires very substantial outside investment. That’s not a good or bad thing. That’s a fact. It’s also a fact that today’s large dairies keep cows inside most of the time. I understand that this can certainly be more comfortable for them during bad weather. My point, apparently badly written, was nostalgic–when I moved to the Maple Ridge Road 40 years ago, everyone had 15-50 cows, and all were out on the landscape most of the time. And, there are some arguments in favor of pasturing, rather than keeping cows in, which I’m sure you know.

    Across the north country we see this change–same number of cows in St. Lawrence County but now managed or owned by a much smaller number of farmers. It’s the 21st century. I know. On the other hand, there’s a small group of people who are trying to find a way to make a living on smaller farms. A bit of a revival, if you will, of the old-style family farm. Hard to do, of course, without having some kind of outside work.

    I remember when your folks moved to the River Road. They have done an amazing job over the years of creating an operation that is now sustaining a new generation.

    But back to why I wrote the piece to begin with. It just hit me one day as I was out walking that right in our own little community (River Road and Maple Ridge Road) we have all these different size and type farms. That was the only point I intended to make.

    Again, my apologies. I never meant to hurt your feelings.

  18. Katie Smith says:

    Thank you for your response. I think it was just a surprise to see our farm portrayed as a terrible place for animals that are caged up in a barn all the time. It still makes me very curious why you have not noticed the animals out in pasture on your daily walks. Clearly people can see the animals out as they drive by. Also in that defense, many of the cows can go in and out as they choose. On many hot summer days they choose the cooler environment with the multiple big fans running to keep them comfortable. Just another of the many luxuries that they are provided.
    From these posts now you can see there is so much love put into Corscadden Family Farms and all of our animals. Just a simple walk through the farm would have already put your mind at ease that these animals were given top care. That is why many cattle dealers/auctioneers have called dad when they have some neglected animals that need some TLC. They have faith in this farm as do many many people. They have earned their good name!

  19. Kim Corscadden says:

    Just wanted to put my input in here on a couple of points that everyone has made.

    The first is on the treatment of the cows on my fathers farm and the length of time they are there. I remember my first year of college I wrote a paper on “sisters” for my writing class. In the paper I described not only the love a admiration I have for my 5 biological sisters but also for the hundreds of bovine sisters I was raised with. We know their mothers and grandmothers and even aunts and greataunts and can recite entire family trees because they are part of our family. As a freshman in college I was homesick for the cows just as much as my family and even now after moving half way across the country I ache for them the same. I can tell you that no animal on that farm has ever been hit in anger, mis treated or intentionally caused any discomfort. I truly believe the love and respect my mother and father have for these animals is in our blood. Just thinking about the beauty and awe of everything they do and all they produce for us to help feed our nation brings tears to my eyes. No farmer farms for the money (they would be a rather foolish person if they did). I know for a fact that the Peck family feels exactly the same way about their smaller bovine family as the Corscadden family feels about their larger (growing up I spent a fair chunk of my time at their farm). The difference is as a larger family we had more help to take care of more.

    The second point I woud like to make goes along with the point it appears you were trying to make after reading your comment Ellen. I think my father would agree with you that it is sad to see a run down farm, a barn falling in, a field left untended. Looking back on it I think that is probably why the farm is the size it is. Farmers would come to dad when they could no longer support their families, they could not afford to feed their cows properly and in turn their cows had stopped producing milk. They could not bear the thought of sending them to beef…. afterall for every farmer I have ever met cows are their life. My father would give them a fair price and bring them home to us. We would nurse them back and allow them to live comfortable lives- much better the the alternative. The hard fact is that farming is more and more difficult to make a substaintal living. Long gone are the days of everyone providing for their families on their own. The amount of labor that goes into a farm is often not a fair trade off for the money earned. Most people are not willing to do it. So I hope the next time you walk by Ken Corscadden’s farm you take a moment to appreciate a man who has dedicated his life to preserving a way of life that many no longer can. A man that has gone into debt and worked longer days then you can imagine because he has a passion in his blood for an animal that is majestic in its own right but also provides us with basic nutrition we need to survive. I encourage you to spend one night with him taking care of a sick cow at 2 am and seeing why he does what he does to understand it… because as a 4 year old little girl that is all it took for me.

  20. Kim Corscadden says:

    Last thing… you are right it is a nice tractor. He takes care of his equipment just as well as he takes care of his cows. Those tractors work 12-15 hour days in order to put in crops to feed the cows which feed you. Could he do it on an older tract? Probably. But as any of the farmers that do what happens when the tractor breaks down at peak harvest time? They are left with inadequate feed to feed their cattle through the winter months if they are able to harvest it at all. These day a break down like that may mean the difference between having to sell the cows or not. Also ask some of those same farmers who has lent them a tractor or helped them harvest the crops (always free of charge) in times like that. The answer will often be Kenny Corscadden.

  21. Kim Corscadden says:

    Ellen,
    I truly hope that you see how much passion each of us has for the farm. Hopefully, you and others reading this article now realize that just becuse a farm is larger does not mean the core values of a small family farm are not there. There are few farmers that can say every single one of their children have the passion like we do. There tends to be a lot of negativity associated with large farms and some farms certainly deserve it, but I have worked at most of the larger farms in our area either directly for them or as a technician for Dairy One and am so proud to say that this is not the case at any of them. They are a community of hard working people who love what they do, are there for each other and would do anything for anybody. It is encouraging to me that agriculture is being kept in their very capable hands as I know they all do it for the right reasons and their values are the same as the old fashioned farm you often think of from your childhood. It isnt an easy way of life and we should all be proud and thankful for what all the farmers of St.Lawrence County, large and small, accomplish every day.

  22. Rusty Richardson says:

    Anyone from the Maple Ridge-River Road area knows my father Harold. Anyone who knows my father knows of his knowledge and caring for animals. My father to this day works up at the Corscadden farm. I worked at the Corscadden farm for some time before joining the Navy 20+ years ago. I can say this, if their was any way shape or form of mistreatment of animals gong on my father would not take part in it. Do cows come and go? Yes some do. But with a herd size approaching 700 would you not expect some turnover? I can tell you this much, a cow worth keeping never had it so good as she would have it on that farm. Proper medical care, the best feed, even semi private quarters for birthing. I have been back to visit a few times over the years watching the new barns pop up, seeing the girls taking more and more of the responsabilities over. They are all the best people you could ever want to know. Any questions about that ask my dad he’ll be in the Corscaddens milking parlor every morning before sunup.

  23. Kerry St.Onge says:

    Ellen,
    If you did not intend for it to be hurtful to our family why is it that the only negative comments in this article were directed to our family. You sang the praises of the other farmers. Which by the way, when you were speaking to the Amish farmers, you should’ve asked them how much the Corscadden’s have helped them. When they have a big task, and need the power of equipment who do you think they turn to? Corscaddens. My Dad has also done his part in making sure that they get a fair shot in this industry too. He’s been close with the amish community my entire life. I can remember being a kid, and on hot summer days, Dad would take over gallons of ice cream to treat the kids, as they didnt get that luxury on a daily basis, as the rest of can. Wish they had internet, they would hang their heads for you. Curious as to why people are submittlng comments and they arent being posted. We have openly invited all to comment on this, and we dont need to proofread what they write bc we’re that confident in who we are. Cant change what you’ve done, but should at least post comments and take some time to read them yourself. Then, maybe you’ll have enough information to write an article on the Corscaddens and hope you’ve learned the lesson…dont walk past anyone and think you can see it all. Blood, sweat, and tears is what you should see, for any farm. By the way, if you had a sick cow of your own, we’d be the people you would want watching over her. Please make sure all that have submitted comments are heard. It’s the least you owe our family.

  24. Ellen Rocco says:

    You know, it would be wonderful at this point to have you write a piece about your farm–what it’s like running a large dairy in 2010. I don’t mean a scientific piece, I mean a real snapshot of life on a north country dairy today. I’d welcome your story as a new entry to this blog. Be prepared though–a lot of people have very strong feelings about farming (like you) and many may take issue with some of your opinions. But I think this blog is a good location for a conversation. Don’t know if you checked out other farm-related stories and material on this site. If not, do check out the award-winning series David Sommerstein produced, A Year on the Farm (type that title in the search box at top of this page), where you’ll find links to other material.

    Hope you’ll think and write about things like: what gives you joy on a dairy farm? what are the day to day challenges? when you look to the future, for yourself and your children, what are the challenges in terms of sustaining a family farm? do you ever think about farming of a different kind (rather than dairy)? what do you need to be a successful (supporting a family) farmer in the 21st century? Or anything else that is on your mind about farming.

    The best platform I can give you is to officially post your response as a blog entry. If you decide to do something, just email it to me at ellen@ncpr.org.

    To be continued…I hope.

  25. Katie Smith says:

    My first thought on reading any other blogs on this page is… a blog about our family was completely false. Not sure I could believe anything that is written as I now realize these blogs are personal opinion and not fact! So with a personal family of 5 to care for and a whole lot of animals, I will not waste my time!

  26. Katie Smith says:

    I also feel that we are not asking to be put in the spotlight. Our farm is one of many that share the same feelings about our animals and our lifestyles. The best way for us to answer those questions you have pointed out it to say spend some time on our farm or that of any other TRUE FARMER. Then you will get our passion!

  27. Kaitlin Corscadden says:

    We arent asking for a pat on the back and a big article on our farm. Honstly, like my sisters are saying, the best advice to anyone who wants to get an idea about the farm.. spend some time experiencing it. These things that we are saying are not things that we read on a website, not something we would understand as an outsider walking by. Which is exactly why as a reporter walking by, you shouldnt have made assumptions. If there is ever a man that knows how to care for cows, its my father. The man who has had a passion for them since he was 4 years old. Believe me when I say, he knows what he is doing. Anyone that has spent time on the farm or actually spent time talking to my Dad would know this. As for “being prepared” for what readers may say about our article if we were to write one. I am so possitive that any farmers around here would agree with what we are saying. The people that disagree clearly have not spent time finding a passion in the business.

  28. Kerry St.Onge says:

    Definitely would’ve preferred the article to stay as it was! Too much negative feedback? Wow looks like a case of trying to cover your own back and hide from others what you wrote. Dont hide it. It’s your opinion and stand by it. Please post the original article and let others read what all of us have read. This is outrageous!

  29. Kylie Corscadden says:

    Quick question, Ellen. Whenever it was that you say you talked to my father and he told you that the bank owned everything, did he end your conversation with “Please, Ellen, announce this on your radio station!” I doubt it. Besides the point that I doubt my father told you that, I think that HAD he told you something like that, he would expect you to be ‘neighborly’ and trustworthy. Dad wasn’t mad when he read this, by the way. He doesn’t let rude comments upset him, but as you can tell….we were all raised to stick up for one another. Your article was very rude, and had NO time or effort put into it. I agree, it is very sad that most of the farms around here went out of business, but giving up when times got hard was probably the main reason. God bless Gilbert and Claire Peck, I have seen my mother and father stress over milk prices, the weather, sick animals…so I know things get hard for them too, being a smaller farm. But they dont give up. You made it seem like my parents “stole” everyones cattle. Dad doesn’t want us to keep this going, as he said you have already apologized. But you’ve only apologized to us, you have not apologized to my mother or my father. And I’m still wondering, is there a place to post my pictures on this webpage? As i type this, I am sitting at my kitchen table looking out the window at the sun beating down on the geese and heifers across the road. You’re story SUCKS. And I wont take the time to read up on any of your blogs.

  30. Kim Corscadden says:

    I think we all need to remember that this was not an article but simply Ellen’s observations and opinions, which she is entitled to. I thank her for the opportunity for us to educate her and her readers in on a little bit of what goes on behind the scenes. I hope the next time she sees something that clearly bothers her that she takes some time to better understand the situation before posting something that comes across so hurtful and slanderous. The sad truth is that she is not the only one who sees things this way. It may have been more hurtful to us hearing it come from somebody who has personally known our family and even been on the receiving end of my fathers generosity and compassion. Ellen, I’m sure someday I will take you up on posting another blog about how the farm has affected our lives… but for now it is so hard to put into words because it has not merely affected our lives, it IS our lives.

  31. Kerry St.Onge says:

    Well said, Kim. Blessing in disguise. That’s the reason I would like the original article posted. There are so many large farmers that should read this and give their opinion on it also. One of the stresses that hasnt been mentioned yet is the number of families a large dairy owner has to employ. When times are tough, they arent just worrying about feeding their own family, but 10-20 families. Thank God in this economy today, that there are these large dairies to keep so many families with food, clothes, and a place to call home. Dad never just worried about us, he had the responsibility of making sure he made the best business decisions possible, as it effected everyone that worked on the farm.

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