Clessons River Farm Buckland, MA
Melissa Griffin grew up the fifth generation on her family’s Buckland, Massachusetts farm and returned to join her parents, Paul and Judy Willis, after earning a master’s degree in trumpet performance. The accomplished musician still spends as many as four nights a week playing music in several different groups, including one of the oldest community bands in the country. “I really enjoy the music and a lot of the people I play with,” Melissa says, “but I always saw myself back on the farm.”
Tagged for Life
The father-daughter team gets help from their wife and mom, Judy, as well as Melissa’s husband, Adam, who both hold down off-farm jobs. They first met back at the county fair. Adam was working for the National Holstein Association and he informed Melissa that Clessons River had been eartagging their cows backwards. “He started picking on me,” she recalls with a chuckle. After the fair, though, Adam emailed Melissa and the two began dating. When they married on the farm, the wedding favors were personalized eartags.
Sharing Ups and Downs
“I see my parents every day and it’s great,” Melissa says. “It’s exciting to be able to make decisions as a family and share in the joys and successes on the farm,” says Melissa. “It’s nice to know your family is there on the not-so-good days.” Melissa has also followed in her dad’s footsteps in another way: both were involved in the Young Cooperators program, representing the next generation at co-op board meetings. She and Adam were even elected chaircouple to speak for all young cooperators at a National Milk Producers’ Federation meeting. “It has been a great opportunity to learn and to meet a lot of people nationally,” Melissa reflects.